Johannesburg - Is Daine Klate the most decorated South African footballer? The statistics do not lie and show that the diminutive 32-year-old is.
Klate a few days ago pulled away from the rest, entering a league of his own after capturing his sixth championship...the first dating back to 2007 when he was with SuperSport United.
Klate won the league title three times with United before bagging two more with Orlando Pirates, becoming the first South African to bag five league crowns in succession.
He has now won his sixth, bettering the likes of Michael Manzini and Andre Arendse.
The winger, who has been shunned by the national team selectors, now boasts the record for the most domestic winners’ medals by an individual, including six league and eight cup wins, since the inception of the Premier Soccer League in 1996.
He is the proud owner of four MTN 8 (including when it was known as the SAA Supa 8), one Telkom Knockout and three Nedbank Cup (including when it was the Absa Cup) gold medals. After helping Wits lift their maiden league title, Klate downplayed his personal successes, insisting he did it all for the team.
“I don’t think about individual awards and I guess I will reflect back when I’m done playing,” he said.
“This has been a good season for me and my team-mates after winning a double.”
Wits lifted the MTN 8 trophy earlier in the season.
But just what is his secret?
“Maybe I am a muti man,” he joked. “I am a winner and always try to contribute positively on and off the field. I want to be a positive influence to the youngsters and hopefully they have learnt a lot”.
He said he and fellow veteran Moeneeb Josephs wanted to lead by example. Last year, Klate was the side’s top scorer and also walked away with the player of the season award.
“I bring a winning mentality with me because I don’t want to lose”.
Interestingly, he won four of the titles with his current coach Gavin Hunt, who is tied with Gordon Igesund and the late Ted Dumitru on four titles. Klate spoke fondly of Hunt, saying the coach brought out the best in him.
“He is special to me. We fight a lot and have a lot of arguments, but we’ve come a long way. He believes in me and I always try my best to repay his confidence in me.”
He revealed that after getting a red card against Mamelodi Sundowns earlier this month, Hunt sent him an SMS assuring him of his support.
“He gave me the support and that helped me a lot”.
Of the six championships, Klate said the first one was the most special.
“But each and every one is unique. I am just happy for the club for winning their first title. They believed in me and all I wanted to do was to repay them and contribute to their success”.
Now the sky is the limit for Klate, who will be looking to add to his tally of medals and continue to write his name in South Africa’s football history books.