Kaizer Chiefs Chairman retires Howard Freese’s jersey number ‘20’

Kaizer Chiefs Chairman, Kaizer Motaung, has announced that the Club will officially retire the number ‘20’ jersey of former captain Howard ‘The Rock’ Freese in honour of his “significant contribution” to Amakhosi.

The Chairman made the announcement after an emotional handover ceremony at Naturena this week, at which Freese donated back to the Chairman and the Club a priceless treasure trove of a number of iconic Amakhosi jerseys and memorabilia from his distinguished playing career.

“Howard is a living dedication of the commitment you show to something you truly love and he is a living testimony to the spirit of Love and Peace that Kaizer Chiefs espouses. As Chairman of the Club, I would like to announce that his number (20) should be properly retired. It will not feature again on the field of play, because of the significance of the contribution that has been made by Howard today,” the Chairman said after Freese’s handover of his playing jerseys.

Freese presented some of the beautifully preserved jerseys from Chiefs’ most successful period during his playing career after he signed for the Club in 1985.

The jerseys the former Amakhosi captain and centre back returned to the Club included those Freese wore during successful campaigns in fabled tournaments such as the Mainstay Cup, Bob Save Super Bowl, BP Top 8, Ohlsson’s Challenge, Iwisa Charity Spectacular and the Castle Premiership.

“I’m bringing these jerseys back home. This is where they belong. When people ask what happened to the Chiefs generation of the 1980s and 1990s, this is a symbol and a reference of the Chiefs generation we represented, for everyone to see,” Freese said as he proudly handed back the jerseys to a Club he won 28 trophies with, including 13 official trophies that saw Freese win the league title on three occasions with Chiefs in 1989, 1991 and 1992.

An emotional and deeply grateful Kaizer Chiefs Chairman’s eyes lit up as he saw the jerseys, the distinctive design of each one of them reminding him of players who set South African football alight, like Albert Bwalya, Absalom ‘Scara’ Thindwa, Donald ‘Ace’ Khuse and of course Freese himself.

“The jersey is now retired, but it is also treasured. It is in our treasure chest to honour the person that wore this number. It is a rare thing in football and it is because of the quality of the person that represented the club,” the Chiefs Chairman said to a beaming Freese.

No first team player is currently using the number 20.

Former teammate Ntsie Maphike was also on hand to be part of the moving jersey handover ceremony.

“I am very emotional. It is amazing how Howard’s efforts have added to this massive badge of Kaizer Chiefs. His contribution has been unbelievable, so Howard deserves all we’ve seen here today. His leadership has been exemplary on and off the field and he was a person you could trust on any matter,” said Maphike, who added that Freese’s commitment to education served as motivation and inspiration to his teammates.

“He is now ‘Dr’ Howard Freese after obtaining his PHD and that motivated us as up and coming youngsters, who learnt and benefitted from his attitude of taking education seriously. Now, people like myself are qualified teachers still in the employ of the club and imparting knowledge and skills for the next generations looking to represent the club,” said Maphike.

Freese’s number ‘20’ jersey becomes only the second Amakhosi jersey to be retired by the Club – along with the number ‘15’ jersey of Doctor Khumalo.

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