20 April 2018– Technical Director of the South African Football Association (SAFA), Neil Tovey says he feels honored to have been selected to be one of the South Africans to receive a National Order – the highest award that the country bestows on people who have contributed to the advancement of democrary and made an impact on improving the lives of South Africans.

The award will be bestowed by the President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa.

Tovey is one of several prominent individuals who will be awarded the Order of Ikhamanga, which recognises South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.

The former Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs captain will be bestowed with the Order in Silver.

“This is for his excellent contribution to South African football; his passion for the sport put South Africa on the world map when he captained the national team to winning the Africa Cup of Nations,” said a statement from Chancellor of National Orders, Dr Cassius Lubisi when announcing the names of the recepients.

Tovey said he felt honored.

“It’s a great honour, when you have to receive such an award from the president of the country. It is just unbelievable, I really did not expect it, and I have to thank the whole team – everyone that I have had the opportunity to work with up to this point – because without them this would not have been possible,” said Tovey.

“I feel very honoured and my greatest gratitude goes to the South African government for recognising me in this way. Words are not enough to show my appreciation. It is a great priviledge and a great reward on a personal leve, one I will cherish for a very long time.”

Tovey will join, among others, the following personalities when they will be awarded the Order of Ikhamanga: Hashim Mohammed Amla – Sport (Cricket); Eric Risimati Baloyi – Sport (Boxing);  Johan Botha (posthumous) – Music; Lillian Dube – Arts; Sipho Cecil Peter “Hotstix” Mabuse – Music; Elana Meyer – Sport (Athletics) and John Smit – Sport (Rugby).

The award ceremony will take place on Saturday, 28 April 2018.

The event will also recognise contributions by individuals to a non-racial‚ non-sexist‚ democratic and prosperous South Africa as envisaged in the Constitution. President Cyril Ramaphosa will bestow the Order of Ikhamanga‚ the Order of the Baobab‚ the Order of Luthuli‚ and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo on recipients.

Tovey won 52 caps Bafana Bafana, and captained them 29 times – he was at the helm when South Africa won the 1996 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Tournament on home soil.

He played 341 league games for Chiefs – a total of 362 matches and scored 32 goals in all competitions. He also played for Amazulu and Durban Callies.

He has also coached clubs like Mamelodi Sundowns, Amazulu, Thanda Royal Zulu, and was also a player-assistant coach at Kaizer Chiefs.


  • The Order of Ikhamanga: recognises South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts‚ culture‚ literature‚ music‚ journalism and sport
  • The Order of the Baobab: recognises South African citizens who have contributed to community service‚ business and economy‚ science‚ medicine and technological innovation
  • The Order of Luthuli: recognises South African citizens who have contributed to the struggle for democracy‚ nation-building‚ building democracy and human rights‚ justice and peace as well as for the resolution of conflict
  • The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo: recognises eminent foreign nationals for friendship shown to South Africa. It is therefore an Order of peace‚ cooperation and active expression of solidarity and support.



Full name: Neil Robert Tovey
Date of Birth 2 July 1962
Place of birth PretoriaSouth Africa
Playing position Central defender
Youth career
1979–1981 Juventus Durban
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981–1985 Durban City 174 (17)
1986–1989 AmaZulu 117 (14)
1990–1999 Kaizer Chiefs 341 (27)
Total 634 (58)
National team
1992–1997 South Africa 52 (0)
Teams managed
1998–1999 Kaizer Chiefs (player-assistant coach)
2000–2001 Mamelodi Sundowns
2001–2002 AmaZulu
2003–2004 Hellenic
2005–2006 Mamelodi Sundowns
2009–2010 AmaZulu
2010 Mpumalanga Black Aces
2011–2012 Thanda Royal Zulu
2015– South Africa (Technical Director)