Morfou brothers considering coming back to footballThomas Kwenaite
Article written by Andile and Mandla Dladla
Mpumalanga Black Aces is a team that has its roots deeply intrenched in the history of South African football. It was a pioneer of professional football in the country during the turbulent 1970’s while it was still known simply as Black Aces.
It then morphed into Mpumalanga Black Aces when the Morfou brother – George and Mario – purchased the status of the team but sadly sold it a few years later after turning it into a formidable outfit in the country.
But like the saying goes, once a footballer always a footballer. And so it came to pass that five years after selling their status, the Morfou brothers expressed regret about their decision which resulted in the demise of the only club at the time that represented the Mpumalanga province.
“I never really supported any team in the sense that I was a diehard fan,” said Mario. “I did however enjoy a lot of football when I was younger before acquiring Mpumalanga Black Aces but the team that I did love was Witbank Aces because it was located in my area where we grew up.
“We are from Mpumalanga originally and the club that I enjoyed watching the most in those days was the defunct Bush Bucks. They were quiet good in those days and could stand their ground against the likes of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows,” says Mario.
“Our sponsorship was Lakama which is one of our businesses entities which funded our club’s day-to-day expenses and there were a few players that we managed to change their lives through football.
“One such player who started his career with us from our days in the Vodacom League (ABC Motsepe League) is Emmanuel Emenike who went on to become one of the greatest players for the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
“It was very financially expensive exercise to be in the top four in the league but something worthwhile. We even went into a partnership with English Premier League side Manchester City to start a programme to develop young stars because it was the way to go.
If you look now at seven or eight of our young stars from back then, they are now playing in the DStv Premiership and there are others who are plying their trades in Greece and the United States of America. If you love football then you will do well in it.”
But the game is constantly changing with quite a large number of young people owning their own football clubs and Mario advises that one needs to understand the game as well as the dynamics involved and if not then you need to stay away.
“You need to understand how the game is played as well as the rules. If you want to pursue football as a business then you need to know about the game because you don’t want to be in a position where your staff are telling you how to run the business.
“Once you start off like that then you are dead in the water. If you are going to be hands on in running the business then I would suggest that you find some financial backing and make sure those finances are enough to sustain the business. Being in the premier league and depending on the PSL grant is not going work.”
The PSL has had some foreign coaches for many years gracing our shores and one such coach that the Morfou brothers had a great time working with was certainly Muhsin Ertugral.
“He is a professional through and through and understands the game, the tactical and technical areas so working with him was very easy. Clive Barker was also another good coach that we worked with.
“Working as brothers was very easy because we do everything together. We are business partners and have been for the past 20 years. We have our own way of doing things, so we argue a lot but it’s better to have two people that think differently but have the same vision and same goals.
“We are currently not involved in league football but we are more involved in development and we are considering coming back into football in the near future.”