‘Ace’ was peerless and the best ever – Ratha Mokgoatlheng
‘Ace’ was peerless and the best ever – Ratha Mokgoatlheng

Posted in News, Team News on Feb 26, 2022.

Kaizer Chiefs founding father Ratha Mokgoatlheng has warmly described his former teammate Patrick ‘Ace’ Ntsoelengoe as non pareil and as the best footballer Amakhosi has ever produced.

A High Court judge of course by profession, Mokgoatlheng reached for the most beautiful of Latin phrases to describe Ntsoelengoe as a peerless ‘individual of unequalled excellence’ on the occasion of what would have been the 70th birthday today of the iconic ‘Ace’.

“Ace was a unique talent, one of the greatest artists I had the honour of playing with. In my view he was the greatest player ever to have played for Kaizer Chiefs. He had a mathematical intellect on the football field, an ability to operate a second or two above the normal good player, which made him great. He could see situations on the pitch other players could not even imagine,” Mokgoatlheng told www.kaizerchiefs.com.

Mokgoatlheng says ‘Ace’ was spotted by Ewart ‘The Lip’ Nene in Randfontein in 1969 as the “main catch” from an area that produced legendary Amakhosi talents such as Joseph ‘Banks’ Setlhodi and Donald ‘Ace’ Khuse.

“He came into a Chiefs team at a time when we were blessed with a crop of great players, such as Johnny ‘Magwegwe’ Mokoena, Kaizer Motaung, Ariel ‘Pro’ Kgongoane, ‘Zero’ Johnson and Bomber Chamane. He was shy and introverted. He never preferred an opinion about his greatness, but ‘Mabhekaphantsi’ made his statements on the field. He was so sensitive to what was happening around him on the field, he was brilliant,” says Mokgoatlheng.

For the Chiefs elder, Steve ‘Kalamazoo’ Mokone was South Africa’s greatest ever footballer for his exploits at Cardiff City in England, Torino in Italy and Heracles in Holland at the height of apartheid, but the “highest tribute” Mokgoatlheng could pay ‘Ace’ was to compare him in the same league to Kalamazoo.

“Ace was perhaps comparatively in the class of Zinedine Zidane at his peak, an unobtrusive genius, peerless and blessed with the soccer brain and vision of a Michelangelo, because he only could visualise moments and spaces and ramifications of instances other players could not even imagine, let alone dream of. In South Africa maybe we should retire the aphorism ‘Ace’ in naming soccer players, because only he deserves that accolade.”

“Ace could have played anywhere in the world. The ban on apartheid South Africa at the time curtailed his career. He could have played in England, in Italy, in Spain, but fortunately he did contribute to the growth of his career by going to the USA. I had the honour of Ace thinking of me as something of a good footballer,” concludes Mokgoatlheng, who ‘Ace’ listed as his football idol who greatly shaped his career.

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