Ahead of one of the biggest games of his young career and one of the biggest in Kaizer Chiefs history, Nkosingiphile Ngcobo has received invaluable counsel from one of the Amakhosi’s legends, Vusi ‘Computer’ Lamola.
‘Mshini’ is one of the young members of the Chiefs squad that this weekend heads to Morocco for the first leg of the massive CAF Champions League semi-final against Wydad Casablanca.
It is the furthest the Amakhosi have progressed in Africa’s showpiece continental club competition, and Ngcobo received the perfect mental and spiritual boost from a talented Amakhosi midfielder of old in Lamola.
“We are born with the love of football, it is something that is in us. But everything our generation has is because of your generation. You paved the way for us and fought for us. It is because of the hard work and sacrifices of your generation that ensured things are easier for us,” Ngcobo warmly told Lamola, genuinely excited and privileged to be absorbing every bit of knowledge and advice he could from the elder Amakhosi statesman.
In turn, Lamola clearly enjoyed interacting with one of the brightest young players of the current Amakhosi generation.
“It’s a pleasure and an honour meeting you, you’ve got all the potential. I’ve read so much about you and here we are, in physical contact. It is important and imperative to bridge the gap between the younger and older generation. History is not a thing of the past, it is a resource centre. The past, present and future is inseparable and it is an honour to share some of my experience and knowledge with you,” Lamola told Ngcobo in a special meeting facilitated by KCTV to mark Youth Day.
Lamola joined Chiefs in May 1971 and spent eight fantastic years at the club, annexing trophy after trophy, including Chiefs’ first league title in 1974.
As he walked through the Kaizer Chiefs village in Naturena, Lamola marveled at the modern facilities, a far cry from the club’s early days.
“In our days, there were no changerooms, we played on gravel. After games, we would bath at home. Looking at the village now, the club has gone from one extreme to the other, in terms of the improvements brought about by the political transformation. Apartheid was bad, it was a terrible system, and it was fought in various ways. We fought against it on the football field,” says Lamola.
“Resources were limited at the time, soccer was a cheap sport and from humble beginnings it has grown into a huge industry. But for our people, football was their first religion, if not their second. That’s how we fell in love with the game, and we loved to entertain people during difficult times,” Lamola added.
‘Computer’ regaled Ngcobo about the phenomenal talent of Chiefs midfielders of old such as Ace Ntsoelengoe and Teenage Dladla, “who used to unlock very tight defences with their extraordinary skill”.
It may well be early in his Chiefs career, but Ngcobo has proven to be a key member of the Chiefs squad this season and his ‘X factor’, energy and skill could well be pivotal against the tough Moroccans.
“I am very excited to have come this far with the team in the CAF Champions League. I think we’ve done very well as a team to get to this stage. We are looking to add value to what the club and players like Bra Vusi have done for Kaizer Chiefs in the past. We now have to play our part and make sure we leave our own mark on this club’s history, and we are very motivated and committed to do so against Wydad,” says Ngcobo.
Lamola urged Ngcobo and the Amakhosi to approach the huge task ahead of them with a unity of purpose and assured them all the club’s supporters and all the Chiefs players of previous generations were right behind them.
“If you want to run fast, you run alone. If you want to run far, run in the company of others. Together, everybody achieves more. If you approach the game against Wydad as a united force, you will reach the final and you will even come home with the trophy. Unity is strength and as a united force you will conquer. We will keep you in our prayers and we are right behind you,” says Lamola.