With 2023 behind and having experienced the energy of 2024, we took some time to reflect, introspect, and with optimism look forward to what lies ahead. As Kaizer Chiefs Football Club, we are privileged to have the opportunity to share some thoughts on the remarkable journey we've had throughout 2023 and our aspirations for an even better year in 2024.
Looking Back on 2023:
The year 2023 was a rollercoaster of emotions for Kaizer Chiefs and our beloved supporters. It presented us with both challenges and moments of triumph. We saw the team's resilience and determination in the face of adversity, and the commitment and passion of our fans who stood by us throughout.
From the onset, we aimed high and set our sights on multiple competitions, domestic and international. While our path encountered obstacles along the way, the fighting spirit of our players shone through. We witnessed remarkable comebacks, thrilling victories, and the display of professional football that Kaizer Chiefs is renowned for. Though we fell short in some competitions, we hold our heads high and acknowledge the lessons learned, which will undoubtedly shape our journey ahead.
Reflecting on 2023, it would be remiss not to commemorate the moments that brought us joy and pride. One of the standout achievements was the remarkable run in the Gauteng Development League (GDL) by our Kaizer Chiefs Youth Development Academy, where we combined consistency with breathtaking performances, to secure a well-deserved place on the podium. Our u-13, u-15, u-17 and u-19 teams brought silverware to the Kaizer Chiefs Village, which is proudly on display as a portent to a bright future.
Furthermore, our resolute determination led us on a memorable journey in the prestigious domestic Cup competitions. While we narrowly missed out on ultimate victory, the thrilling matches we participated in and the resilience shown by our players showcased the unwavering Kaizer Chiefs spirit.
As we get ready for Afcon 2023, we are proud to have hosted one of the key events, which saw the Afcon Trophy tour make a stop at the Kaizer Chiefs Village by headline sponsors, TotalEnergies. We hope this will inspire our young and older players.
In November 2023, Club Chairman, Dr. Kaizer Motaung was inducted into the South African Hall of Fame. A remarkable and worthy recognition of the man who has achieved and done so much for football in South Africa and on the continent. The event is a key highlight for all of us as Amakhosi. We once again congratulate Dr. Kaizer Motaung for this achievement.
On a personal note, our Chairman’s congratulations on my election as the Deputy Chairperson of the African Club Association (ACA) are deeply appreciated. The position that will keep me busy in 2024 as we try and build Club football on the continent and ensure that we position and represent PSL and SAFA very well within CAF and FIFA.
Though we said goodbye to two academy graduates, Siyabonga Ngezana and Njabulo Blom, this year, we are encouraged by the ability of our youth system to produce talent that attracts interest from abroad, and we wish them both well in their respective leagues in Europe and the USA.
The Support of Our Fans:
Behind every great team lies an incredible group of supporters, and Kaizer Chiefs have been blessed with an army of passionate fans like no other. Throughout 2023, their presence created an electric atmosphere at the stadiums and spurred the team on during difficult moments. To our loyal supporters, we extend our deepest gratitude for your undying support and commitment. Your belief in the team has been crucial in our journey.
We witnessed supporters’ branches from all nine provinces including neighbouring countries such as Botswana and Swaziland crisscross the country to support the boys at different venues.
It was also great to re-open our store and welcome our supporters back to The Village after the three years of closure caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sadly, we also had moments of disappointment when we saw an unprecedented events of misbehaviour by a number of supporters who resorted to causing mayhem when unhappy with the results. We should never see this sort of violence in our football, or anywhere else in society. We hope lessons have been learnt and our supporters will not repeat these actions.
Our Sponsors and Partners:
We enjoyed some great activations with our sponsors this year.
One of the highlights was penning a new contract with our medical aid partners Medshield earlier this year. We also continued to do some great work with Toyota including some key corporate social responsibility initiatives in Alexandra Township and Zola in Soweto. Following our parting of ways with Nike after 22 years, we entered into a new partnership with Kappa, which has proven to be one of the biggest and successful sponsorship partnerships of 2023. We look forward to launching our second Kappa home and away kit in July.
We are thankful to Vodacom for their support over the last 25 years, and will be there to celebrate when the company turns 30 this year.
We thank SuperSport International for working with us to ensure we produce the best coverage for the team, and football in general.
To SMSA, who run FNB Stadium, we are grateful for the partnership.
The Polokwane Municipality were remarkable in facilitating a return to playing some home games at the Peter Mokaba Stadium this year. We look forward to working together in 2024.
Likewise, the eThekwini Municipality, in making the Moses Mabhida stadium available as one of our three home venues for three more seasons.
Thanks too to Kaelo and all our other partners who have been part of our journey in 2023.
Looking Forward to a Bright 2024:
As we enter a new year, Kaizer Chiefs carry the lessons, experiences, and ambitions gained from the past 53 years into 2024. Guided by our single-minded commitment to excellence, our primary goal is to continue building on the successes of the past and set new standards for ourselves and South African football.
This year, we embark on a journey filled with determination and optimism. Our aim is to compete on all fronts, reclaiming our dominance in both domestic and international competitions. We strive to strengthen our squad, invest in talent development, and embrace tactical innovations, all aligned with the rich legacy of Kaizer Chiefs.
We also look forward to our Chairman entering the octogenarian stage of his blessed life as he will turn 80 years old on 16 October.
We need to pray for our country, and we hope many of the problems we face are reduced – these include the unemployment rate, high levels of crime, loadshedding and inflation, amongst others.
2024 is an important year politically as we will have an opportunity to vote for the leaders of our country. Let’s ensure we register and cast our votes wisely during the elections. This is important for our country’s future.
We are privileged to witness the pioneering spirit, dedication, and passion that drives this institution forward. We move into the future with an understanding that challenges will always exist, but comforted in the knowledge the Kaizer Chiefs Family's unity and belief will always prevail.
Let 2024 be a year where Kaizer Chiefs soars to greater heights, fueled by the collective determination of our staff and the unmatched support of our Amakhosi faithful. Together, we will script another chapter in the illustrious history of our beloved Club.
We will also be launching some big initiatives for our supporters in 2024 and we do hope that we will get the necessary uptake.
We’d also like to congratulate CAF for the hard work they’ve done in organising this year Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Ivory Coast. We look forward to a spectacular event as we know that world will be watching this year’s showpiece.
Lastly, we wish our national men’s senior team Bafana Bafana all the best as they will be participating in the 2024 Afcon competition. As South Africans, we should all be behind our national team from 13 January to 11 February.
We do trust that Bafana Bafana to do well so we can reclaim our position of being among the top teams in Africa. We certainly believe that the boys will emulate Banyana Banyana who lifted the Wafcon trophy in 2022.
In unity and with great optimism,