Kaizer Chiefs legends: Top 10 all-time greats for The Phefeni Boys

Kaizer Chiefs legends: Top 10 all-time greats for The Phefeni Boys

Kenneth Mwenda
updated at April 12, 2023 at 8:13 PM

Kaizer Chiefs legends are also among the most celebrated Bafana Bafana former players. Some of their most memorable moments occurred during the Soweto Derby, one of the toughest derbies in southern Africa. However, their careers did not end in Soweto; they were traded to various clubs around the world.

Kaizer Chiefs legends: Top 10 all-time greats for The Phefeni Boys
Head coach Stuart Baxter of the Chiefs celebrates with the trophy and his players after the Nedbank Cup Final at Moses Mabhida Stadium on May 25, 2013 in Durban, South Africa. Photo: Anesh Debiky
Source: Getty Images

The Kaizer Chiefs legends list includes some of South Africa's most well-known football figures. Our list, compiled from different sources, includes players who have not only shone for the South African team but have also graced other great leagues.

Kaizer Chiefs legends players

Since the inception of the top flight in 1970, the club has been the most successful team in South African football history and the most popular team in Sub-Saharan Africa. All of this success has been brought about by a number of outstanding players who dedicated their lives to the club. Among the biggest Kaizer Chiefs legends are:

10. Ace Ntsoelengoe

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Patrick 'Ace' Ntsoelengoe is the club legend who brought joy and happiness to Chiefs fans all over the country. He was also one of the most recognisable faces to wear the club's jersey in the 1970s and 1980s.

The late former centre forward was voted the Chiefs' greatest-ever player in 2010 and was compared to Ronaldinho of his day. This was due to his technical prowess, footwork, and joy with which he played the game. He died at the age of 54 in 2006.

9. Kaizer Motaung

Kaizer Motaung OIS is a former South African association football player and the chairman and managing director of Kaizer Chiefs FC. He was a lethal threat in the final third, and his consistent goalscoring in the club's early years helped establish the club's dynasty. He was dubbed "Chincha Guluva."

8. John Moshoeu

Kaizer Chiefs legends
John Moshoeu during a match in October 1997. Photo: Alexander Hassenstein
Source: Getty Images

Kaizer Chiefs once enjoyed the honour of owning Lesiba John "Shoes" Moshoeu in their history. They say that playing simple is the most difficult thing in football, and despite his technical abilities and speed, Moshoeu mastered it throughout his career. "Shoes" was supremely intelligent and mature on and off the field.

Pundits state that legendary former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker would stand by the sidelines and yell, "Shoes! Dance! "Dance, dance, dance!" Barker was well aware of Moshoeu's magical footwork and dancer-like speed in beating defenders. After all, the name shoes is derived from dancing shoes. The former superstar died in Johannesburg on April 21, 2015, from stomach cancer.

7. Teenage Dladla

The former Kaizer Chiefs player had the boyish, naughty, mischievous smile – and the starry twinkle in his eye – that earned him the infamous nickname 'Teenage.'

His playful, almost disarming demeanour and scrawny physique must have lulled defenders into a false sense of security before they realised too late that it concealed a lethal, clinical footballing style that ripped opponents apart.

Nelson' Teenage' Dladla is one of the first names that comes to mind when discussing the best players to ever wear the club's jersey.

6. Doctor Khumalo

Kaizer Chiefs legends of all time
Doctor Khumalo during the special screening of 16V Doctor Khumalo Untold at Langhams Estate on October 02, 2022 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo: Oupa Bopape
Source: Getty Images

Khumalo made 397 starts for the Chiefs, a franchise record. He possessed exceptional passing skills and ball-handling ability. He also contributed goals, regularly evading defenders with a turn of pace and intelligent movement before firing home.

He is best known as a star midfielder for both Kaizer Chiefs and the South African national team. Khumalo is widely regarded as one of South Africa's best midfielders of his generation.

5. Itumeleng Khune

Kaizer Chiefs legends list
Itumeleng Khune of Kaizer Chiefs during the Absa Premiership match between Ajax Cape Town and Kaizer Chiefs at Cape Town Stadium on May 01, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. Photo: Carl Fourie
Source: Getty Images

He is a one-club man who has been an emblematic figure of some of the club's recent successes. Khune is regularly regarded as one of Africa's finest goalkeepers since establishing himself at Chiefs.

The Kaizer Chiefs captain shot to fame when he saved three penalties from Esrom Nyandoro and Peter Ndlovu against Mamelodi Sundowns in the Telkom Knockout final on December 1, 2007. He is also known for a René Higuita scorpion kick to save against Mpumalanga Black Aces on October 28, 2015 which went viral in England.

Khune is known for his quick reflexes and distribution, which former Liverpool goalkeeper Sander Westerveld described as "the best you will see anywhere." He is one of the Kaizer Chiefs legends in FIFA 22.

4. Neil Tovey

Kaizer Chiefs legends
Neil Tovey during a match on 11 October 1997. Photo: Alexander Hassenstein
Source: Getty Images

According to Neil Tovey, the year 1994 and the advent of freedom and democracy transformed South Africa into an "ecstatic and happy place" full of endless possibilities. He is a Kaizer Chiefs legend who holds the record for the most National Soccer League appearances (NSL).

On his way to becoming the NSL's all-time appearances leader, he appeared 174 times for Durban City, 117 times for AmaZulu, and 341 times for Kaizer Chiefs. Tovey led South Africa to an AFCON victory in 1996.

3. Lucas Radebe

Famous Kaizer Chiefs legends
Lucas Radebe speaks on stage at the FIFA World Cup Kick-off Celebration Concert at the Orlando Stadium on June 10, 2010 in Soweto, South Africa. Photo: Paul Gilham
Source: Getty Images

The Kaizer Chiefs' legendary defender was a member of one of the club's most successful generations in the early 1990s. In his early career, Radebe played as a goalkeeper for a short time and saved two penalties, but his favourite position had always been centre-back.

Radebe is also regarded as one of the most illustrious African football legends to have played in the Premier League. He was a hero for Leeds United, helping them reach the Champions League semi-finals in 2000-01.

2. Ryder Mofokeng

He was a member of the Chiefs squad that won the club's first league title in 1974, a season in which the Chiefs scored 106 goals and conceded just 27, as the team lost just three times in 30 games. Under the guise of the recently deceased Joe Frickleton, he captained the Chiefs' quadruple-winning team in 1984, as they won the League Title, Mainstay Cup, JPS Knockout, and Sales House of Champions Cup.

His contribution to the history of the Kaizer Chiefs elevated him to the ranks of the best players of all time. He appeared in over 300 official team games. However, he only scored once in a 1979 Cup match against Blackpool in Kwa-Mashu.

1. Ace Khuse

Khuse is considered to be one of the greatest Kaizer Chiefs legends of all time. Known colloquially as Didi, he captivated football fans in the 1980s and 1990s. He inherited the famous jersey number 12 from the late Ace Ntsoelengoe and was inspirational as the Chiefs nearly won everything in his first season in 1989.

Donald also performed both locally and internationally, hypnotising audiences with his flawless skills. Sundowns, Ganclebirligi, and Antalayspor are among his other clubs. Donald Ace Khuse is regarded as one of the Phefeni Glamour Boys' best midfielders.

Kaizer Chiefs has a strong local rivalry with Orlando Pirates, a fellow Soweto team that Chiefs founder and legend Kaizer Motaung played for in his early playing career. However, the Chiefs have for long been the best team, a stat that most new players tout whenever they put on that black-and-gold jersey.

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Kenneth Mwenda photo
Kenneth Mwenda
Kenneth Mwenda is a business and sports writer with over five years of experience. At Sportsbrief, he contributes to writing biographies and listicles.