Cape Town - Goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune has compared Kaizer Chiefs' chairperson Kaizer Motaung's influence on football to that which former president Nelson Mandela had on the country.
Khune was commenting on the birthday of the Amakhosi founder, who turns 73 on Monday, and the Bafana Bafana shot-stopper spoke of the close relationship he has enjoyed with Motaung.
"The Chairman is very humble. He's a real father figure to me, not only when it comes to soccer advice, but also about life in general. Besides that, his door is always open," Khune told the club's website.
"I think he breathes football. And that passion is addictive, as I have incorporated that same sentiment for the game into my career as well as, of course, my love for Kaizer Chiefs.
"Nelson Mandela was our political leader. However, Kaizer Motaung is the Mandela of South African football."
The 30-year-old also revealed the role Motaung played earlier in his career.
"The Chairman knew that Brian Baloyi was leaving the club in 2004. He was obviously happy with what he had seen of me. This rubbed off and it highly motivated me. Later on, it helped my younger brother Lucky as well.
"Mister Chairman, please always be the figure that you are, both for the club and the nation as a whole. Happy birthday, may you see many more."