‘Wizard’ Motlanthe excites fans with on-field skill

2012-10-22 00:00

"WIZAAAA … Wizaaaa … Wizaard!” was the commentator’s cry that greeted every move by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe during yesterday’s ANC Centenary Aces football match in Alexandra.

Motlanthe (63), who was nicknamed “Wizard” as a young footballer, captained the team against the Italian Reggio Emilia Legends.

The match took place on the first day of the Gauteng region’s 21 days in charge of the ANC centenary flame.

The Italian Reggio Emilia region was a firm supporter of the ANC during the apartheid era.

Italian women who had come to support husbands and friends danced with local women to kwaito beats on the sidelines as the teams did battle to a 2-2 draw.

Motlanthe’s team included Arts Minister Paul Mashatile, as well as footballers Lawrence (Sister Monica) Siyangaphi, who scored the first goal, and former Bafana star Doctor Khumalo.

Numbers were made up for Reggio with the inclusion of World Cup boss Danny Jordaan and Mark Fish.

The crowd, who filled the stands three hours before kick-off, cheered Motlanthe every time he touched the ball, forgiving him when he fell on his backside just before half-time.

The Italians were coached by their ambassador, Vincenco Schioppa, and led by former national player Giuseppe Dossena, while Jomo Sono coached the ANC men and entertained the crowd with his on-field antics.

Italian player Sergio Lavergilita called the match an “absolutely unique experience” and vowed to return.

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