Kaizer Chiefs Football Club is one of the teams that cannot be underrated in South African football even though things might be going their way. The Amakhosi as they are known to their fans are popular for winning trophies every season except the past two seasons where they won nothing.
The Kaizer Chiefs development programme is no longer as productive as it was in the early 2000’s, but there are players the club has managed to produce for other teams. Can you name who they are?
Back then, stars such as Jabu “Pule” Mahlangu, Nhlanhla Kubheka, Junior Khanye, just to name a few, came off the development conveyor belt at Naturena. However, there are more players who are currently plying their trade in the PSL and NFD, but never made their mark in the senior side.
Just this past weekend, two former Chiefs youth players Bokang Thlone and Thela Ngobeni of Free State Stars were instrumental in orchestrating Amakhosi’s elimination in the Telkom Knockout Cup.
There are many other PSL stars who were groomed by Chiefs, but never really made it to first team level.
Now playing for Kaizer Chiefs’ rivals, Orlando Pirates, the Amakhosi youth department nurtured the skillful midfielder. However, he made his professional debut at Free State Stars before being snapped up by the Ghosts.
The Platinum Stars midfielder was part of Chiefs’ development side which boasted the likes of Wayne Matle, Sandile Zuke, Thela Ngobeni and Michael Nkambule. The Empageni-born midfielder failed to break into the first team at Chiefs and has been at Dikwena for a couple of seasons now.
The goalkeeper is another player who hails from Empageni, on the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. ‘KAT’, as the player is affectionately known in football circles, is currently the number one shot-stopper at Platinum Stars.
A former U20 captain with Kaizer, the left footed player currently plays for newly promoted NFD side, Real Kings. Miya also had stints at Black Leopards while they were still campaigning in the elite league. Last season, he was on the books of Royal Eagles.
Molekwane made headlines as a teenager when then Bafana Bafana head coach Stuart Baxter called him up to the national team without any professional games under his belt. However, the defender failed to live up to his early promise, as he only made a handful of appearances for the Glamour Boys before having spells at Bidvest Wits and Pololwane City. “Spanner” is on Bloemfontein Celtic’s roster this season.
Thlone scored a great goal for Free State Stars against Kaizer Chiefs this past weekend in the Telkom Knockout. Thlone is a very capable left back, who is proving that Chiefs made a mistake by releasing him.
Ngobeni denied Chiefs a spot in the Telkom Knockout Cup semi-final when he produced a Man of the Match performance and saved two penalties to send Ea Lla Kota through to the semi-finals.The Free State Stars goalkeeper is on-loan from Mamelodi Sundowns, but was groomed at the Chiefs development ranks.
Other players who honed their skills in Naturena include Nyiko Tshabangu of Free State Stars and Polowane City’s Sipho Jembula.