Emotional Motaung thankful for family support as he's inducted into Hall of Fame
On an evening when he was inducted into the SA Hall of Fame, an "overwhelmed" Kaizer Motaung let the audience in on his personal journey that saw him defy his parents’ wishes of chasing a legal profession and embarked instead on a path to forming what has now become the country’s biggest sporting institution.
Motaung revealed at his induction ceremony on Thursday that his father had wanted him to become a lawyer, only for the Amakhosi boss to pursue a different route that took him from Soweto to the United States and back to SA as the head of the country’s most supported club.
“I thank my parents, Ceyland and Manana Motaung, who did an incredible job of raising me and my siblings. My father would have preferred for me to be a lawyer. But I had my own desires and he understood. He fully supported me in my journey,” said Motaung, who began his speech by admitting he was "overwhelmed by the occasion".
So supportive were his parents that they allowed their home to become a makeshift clubhouse during the early days of Kaizer XI in 1969, which a year later morphed into Chiefs. “They welcomed everyone to their house in Phefeni [Soweto]. We would have players coming in from as far as Durban and they would stay with us,” he said.
Motaung, who played for Orlando Pirates aged 16, also recalled the day he was scouted to go on trials for Atlanta Chiefs in the US. “I want to thank the fans who supported me when I had trials at Kliptown Stadium. Not many will remember that stadium. That led to my move to the USA. Those fans moved rocks and stones from the pitch and that paved my way to Atlanta."
The Chiefs supremo reserved special praise for his wife, Juleka, who was in the audience. “She stood diligently by my side and has been part of this extraordinary journey. She has been there every step of the way. Credit to her because she reminds me of my mother as she has been the centre of the family. I would probably not have had the strength to navigate this life journey without her,” Motaung said to applause, adding she had met Juleka “as a result of football”, but didn’t elaborate.
He also thanked his children from “taking the Chiefs brand to new heights”. Motaung’s fellow Chiefs founders Edward Nene, Edward Khoza, Ratha Mokgoatlheng and Zero Johnson also got special mentions.
Dignitaries at Thursday’s event included sports minister Zizi Kodwa, CAF president Patrice Motsepe, and Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi, while the entire Chiefs squad was also in attendance despite scheduled to pay in the Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates on Saturday.
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