a soccer purist

Harris Choeu

Harris Choeu

It was in 1983 when I first joined Witbank Black Aces from Seshego Saints. I had a choice of either joining Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Benoni United or Moroka Swallows as I was on their shopping lists.

What attracted me to Aces, and of course contributed towards my decision, was their slogan: "Manners Maketh a Man".

I also liked their brand of football and always thought I would easily fit in their system of play. When I joined them, I became part of this system. I also inherited these good values - and I am proud to say now that I benefitted from these values.

The question I've been asking myself lately is how was this possible, until I realised the roles played by senior players like Witbank-born Junior Ngobe, Cyprian Maimane as well as Steve "Disco" Makua. They were well-respected and had the same powers as club officials. They were very influential and stood firm to protect the brand of football Aces was known for.

Makua had always been the democratic one, which gave us more opportunity to freely exchange ideas without any fear of victimisation or negative consequences, especially me and Harold "Jazzy Queen" Legodi.

He used to give us valuable tips about life, football and how to deal with fame.

During our off days, he used to take us for drinks and advised us about how to be a football survivor. He encouraged us not to fear our fans because if we lost, it was only a game - there was always room for improvement.

I remember Makua telling us: "Most people are creative, but a lot don't believe in their creativity." He would also philosophically add: "At Aces, no one is bigger than the team and the game itself."

"Ntseb", "Disco" or "Rockmachine" would also be remembered for having taught us that "there will never be another now, make the most of today, there will never be another you, make the most of yourself".

He also used to protect young players against "bully" opposition veterans such as Kaizer Chiefs' Malombo Lechaba, Tornado Ntsibande of Moroka Swallows and Scara Njokweni of Benoni United, to name but a few.

It's really very painful to lose somebody of Makua's calibre. We kept in touch till he met his tragic death last weekend.

Last season he helped Witbank Spurs avoid relegation and took them to the last rounds of the Absa Cup competition.

Steve Makua contributed a lot to my life and the lives of most former Aces soccerites and other football players. He will be buried tomorrow in Middelburg, Mpumalanga. The service will be held at Mhluzi Hall at 9am.