On behalf of the South African Football Association (SAFA), I would like to wish one of South Africa’s all-time soccer greats Steve ‘Kalamazoo’ Mokone a Happy Birthday.
You are turning 80 today but the truth with you is that age is just but a number; you are not getting older, just more distinguished.
Having represented South Africa at the age of 16, you remain our country’s most illustrious ambassador of the game of football. The fact that you were the first black South African to play professional football in Europe where you achieved superstar status and in which some commentators described you among the best the game has ever had on this planet, proves beyond doubt that your achievement will remain forever emblazoned in the history books.
You joined Coventry City in 1955 and in the following years you made a lasting impression in Netherlands and Italy where you were compared to some of the game’s greatest. You are a true ambassador not only for South Africa but for this Beautiful Game. It‘s no surprise that you were inscribed in the South African Hall of Fame in 2006 where your legendary status was ‘belatedly’ documented.
I say so because in Netherlands you have a street named after you. This goes to show the invaluable role you played for the beautiful game of football and the influence you had across the globe. You have books written about your exploits on the field and a film made about you to document your heroic feats.
We wish you many more years to come Dr Mokone because in South Africa, we consider you a simple servant of this beautiful game. This country will always bow before you.
Yours in Sport