Rest In Peace, Shaka Ngcobo

According to Chiefs’ Jessica Motaung, “he was complaining of chest pains so his wife called an ambulance, but he was already gone when it arrived. This is so sad, he is one of our greatest legends.”

Indeed, the word legend is used perhaps too freely, but that cannot be said in the case of Ngcobo, who starred for Chiefs from 1972 until his retirement in December 1984.

Respected footballer commentator, Mark Gleeson reels off some of Ngcobo’s greatest achievements: “He was named Footballer of the Year in February 1980 – so that would be for the 1979 season; he scored against Highlands Park in that famous Mainstay Cup Final replay; he scored a 13-minute hat-trick against Moroka Swallows…”

Indeed. Recruited in his early 20s by Ewert ‘The Lip’ Nene in 1972 after scoring – as legend has it six goals in a friendly against Amakhosi – Ngcobo was still relevant as a player at the end of the decade.

Ngcobo was picked for the SA Black XI that faced the travelling UK All Stars in 1973 and was then named by the late Alex Forbes in the Shadow SA Squad. In 1979, an English All Stars side toured the country, and again, Ngcobo was selected to face them.

In 1980, Mario ‘The Godfather’ Tuani took Ngcobo for trials at top Uruguay club, Penarol (Morgan Gould’s father, Goodenough Ngcobo also went along). On his return, Chiefs fined Ngcobo R1000.

‘Valdez’ seemed to enjoy playing against Moroka Swallows in particular – aside from that rapid-fire hat-trick in a 7-1 thumping of the Birds in 1974, he also held the record for the fastest goal in Castle League history – scored against Swallows 10 seconds after kick off at Vosloorus on October 11 1976. Chiefs won 3-1.

Troubled by niggling knee injuries later in his career, Valdez hung up his boots after the 1984 season.

KICK OFF extends its condolences to the Ngcobo family, and to Kaizer Chiefs.

Abednigo Shaka Ngcobo (1950 – November 1, 2014)

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