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Steve Mokone (1932 – )

The Order of Ikhamanga in

Steve Mokone (1932 – ) Awarded for:
Exceptional achievement in the field of soccer and an outstanding contribution to the development of non-racial sport.
Profile of Steve ‘Kalamazoo’ Mokone

Steve ‘Kalamazoo’ Mokone was born in Doornfontein in 1932 and represented South Africa in soccer at the youthful age of 16. He became the first black professional in Britain (and later in Holland) when he signed up for the English club Coventry City in 1955.

Disheartened by his treatment and disillusioned by the style of football at the club, he left only to achieve superstar status playing for the Dutch side, Heracles and later Torino in Italy. By 1959 he was elected Europe's best soccer player.

Today, Mokone is regarded as the greatest footballer South Africa has ever produced, often being compared with the world's all-time greats, including the inimitable Pele of Brazil.

Mokone studied in America gaining a Doctorate in Psychology and International Politics. Mokone is currently the chief executive officer of The Kalamazoo South African Foundation, which he founded in 1996. He is also on the board of directors of the Commonwealth Sports Awards.

Steve Mokone has the distinction of having a street named after him in Amsterdam.