Maponyane: Chiefs salary wasn't enough

Premiership

Former Bafana Bafana striker Marks Maponyane has revealed how much he earned while playing for Kaizer Chiefs.

Marks 'Go Man Go' Maponyane is a true legend of the game whose achievements can never be questioned.

Like most kids in Meadowlands, Soweto, the former Amakhosi and Orlando Pirates goal-poacher was introduced to football by local youngsters at the age of six.

View more images from Maponyane's soccer career in the gallery above

"It was just a way of life in the townships those days, and I just joined the fray," Maponyane tells KickOff.com.

"My move to Kaizer Chiefs came about when I was playing for a team called Shamrocks Special. But I was also playing with quality players who were also my teammates, James Mkhwanazi, Mandla 'Metroblitz' Sithole, Aubrey 'The Great' Makgopela, and those are the players that ended up turning professional. And that's how I got to be seen.

"And who recruited me to professional football? Bra Stan Kungwane who lived around home, he was a card-carrying member of Kaizer Chiefs, he recommended that I join Kaizer Chiefs. When I got to Kaizer Chiefs, the senior players were very receptive. And when I joined them it was 1980, but I couldn't play because I got there at the time when the window period was closed.

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"So I played in the Kaizer Chiefs reserves with the likes of Gardner Seale, Wellington Manyathi, Trevor Mthimkhulu and Ntsie Maphike. And then on the 12th of April 1981, that's when I was in Matric, that's when I started playing my first game. My first salary was R600 at Kaizer Chiefs. It went on for some time, and the highest-paid salary to me from Kaizer Chiefs was R1 800 after 10 years, and as a result I thought it wasn't enough, then I had to leave."

Maponyane then left for Dynamos, where he was paid a higher salary, and won the JPS Cup in the one season he spent with the now-defunct club.

"And then I went to Orlando Pirates. I knew it was the opening of a bigger picture. We went on to see the continent, play on the continent, and won... the Champions League. Yes, the Chiefs supporters' hearts were broken, but they understood that at some point one has to leave or to grow. Because at the time when I joined, I was a youngster with no kids. At 30 I already had kids and they had to be looked-after, and that salary wasn't good enough. And that's how and why I left."

Despite not getting paid that much during his football career, Maponyane says when it came to saving money it was not much of an issue for him as he had other means of making money.

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"And the difficulty of saving money, no, I wouldn't say it was difficult. I was making money from the sponsors and endorsements here and there. And that to me saved my life. Other than that it wouldn't really work. I was fortunate to be looked-after by the likes of Adidas. The sales of the boots were making a difference. But by the way, I was also working. And I worked for a few companies, Premier Milling, I worked for Adidas, I worked for Reebok as a sales rep."

The jersey number seven will always be associated with the Maponyane in the history of South African football.

"This jersey number seven was given to me, I don't know why, but it's the jersey that was left by the late Pele Blaschke if you can recall, the Namibian. And I had to continue with the legacy that he left. I retired in 1998 on the 12th of December. My last game was against Orlando Pirates when I was with Wits. I had already opened a business, Marks Maponyane & Associates. So that business was needing me more often than not. It wasn't hard to decide to quit because I looked back and I thought, what else have I not won?"

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Asked what he does nowadays to put food on the table, Maponyane says: "I still do what I have been doing best, motivational talks. And yes the business has gone down and you know the story with Covid and the economy. But other than that, I am surviving. And that is very important I would say.

"I would have income here and there. Among other things that I've been doing over the years is being an analyst on SABC. Now I'm also an analyst on SABC Radio, Radio 2000. I'm currently based in Midrand. I'm between Joburg and Pretoria. It's always better to be in the middle."

Maponyane says the reason he never took the coaching route is because he was tired of sleeping in hotels and all the travelling.

"Having played football for 18 years at professional level, I realised that I have spent a lot of time of my life just training and being in the camp over the years. And it was the end of my career. I wasn't enjoying the camp at all. I was just looking forward to playing, but not looking forward to be staying in the hotel like a youngster. You know kids are growing and you've got responsibilities and you don't enjoy that anymore. That's the reason why I didn't go coaching."

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