Like ‘Chippa’ Moloi, South African football have so many players nicknamed ‘Ace’. But the original ‘Ace’ is Patrick Pule Zolile Ntsoelengoe who was given the nickname by his father Daniel Ndimande. Ace was undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation and at the peak of his career he was treated like a god by Kaizer Chiefs fans. He was a deceptively low pace player and yet covered more ground any of his teammates. With the packed Orlando Stadium crowd cheering ‘Aeeeeeeeeeeeece or ‘Mabhekaphansi’ – Ntsoelengoe dribbled past opponents with ease and made football listen to him. In South Africa he spent his entire career in the gold and black colours of Kaizer Chiefs and also spent 11 seasons in the North American Soccer League playing for teams like Miamo Toros, Denver Dynamos, Minnesota Kicks and Toronto Blizzard. Ace passed away on 8 May 2006 aged 54.
Sam ‘Eewiee’ Kambule is arguably one of the best South African defenders of all time. Born in Pretoria, 27 June 1965, he began his professional career with Pretoria Callies in 1985 where he played 34 matches and scored three goals. A strong defender with a knack for scoring goals, in 1986 he joined Mamelodi Sundowns where he won the Mainstay Cup. And that began his success with team – he finished his career with three League titles, two BP Top Eight Cup and Ohlsson’s Challenge. In 1993, he overtook Howard Freese’s record of 341 games in all competitions. Eewiee passed away in November 2006 aged 41.
Some fans called him ‘Hero’ and some called him ‘Zero my Hero’ – whatever nickname you prefer; Kagiso Mogale had an artistry and skill which made him the darling of Orlando Pirates fans. He burst into the football in 1980 and was quickly dubbed the firm candidate to succeed Jomo Sono. A student at Madibane High School in Diepkloof, ‘Zero My Hero’ showed touches of sheer class from an early age. His goals after his debut took the Buccaneers into second place behind Highlands Park. The diminutive player played many sensational games in the black and white colours of Orlando Pirates and dazzled crowds with his sweet left foot. In 1986, Stanley ‘Screamer’ Tshabalala took him to Sundowns when he won the Mainstay Cup. The following season, in 1987, he joined Giant Blackpool where he linked up with another young dribbler named John ‘Shoes’ Moshoeu.
The legends goes; Marks ‘Go-Man-Go’ Maponyane trained with Moroka Swallows for one week in 1981 alongside another youngster, Aubrey ‘The Great’ Makgopela. But it was in 1982, in the colours of Kaizer Chiefs where he made his mark. He made his debut on 12 April 1982 against Leicester City and scored his first goal for his new club. And for the next 15 years of his career – Go-Man-Go won every possible trophy on offer. Despite scoring goals, as a player Marks Maponyane was a fierce competitor and one of the most difficult forwards to play against. But he almost paid the price in 1987 when his jaw was broken by Moroka Swallows player, Raul Gonzalez. But he came back into the game and scored a winning goal against Amazulu in the 1987 Mainstay Cup Final. In 1994 he joined Orlando Pirates via Dynamos and helped the Buccaneers win the league for the first time since 1974.
By Zola Doda