Chippa United chairman Chippa Mpengesi is basking in the glow of his club’s phenomenal rise to the summit of South African football.
|Chippa Mpengesi @ Backpagepix
The Chilli Boys secured promotion to the Absa Premiership when they beat Santos 4-3 in a thrilling game of football at the Philippi Stadium.
The team joins a select group of clubs, including Platinum (Silver) Stars and Vasco da Gama, who have rocketed from the Second Division (third tier) to the PSL.
Vasco was however formed way back in 1980, and Stars in 1998. Chippa only came into existence in 2010, winning the Second Division in their first season after buying the franchise of Mbekweni Cosmos.
A man with a deep-rooted faith, Mpengesi credits his religious beliefs to his own personal success story, which includes a rise from poverty to becoming a highly successful businessman.
He also believes the opportunities afforded to all in a free South Africa means that anything can be achieved by those that set their minds to it.
“First of all I praise Lord Jesus Christ, God of Abraham for what he has done for us. We are on top of the moon. This is impossible to explain. Two seasons and we are already in the PSL. This is just the beginning of what is about to happen – we are not going there to make up numbers.
“The old mentality of thinking you have to be spending five years before you can compete in the higher football fraternity – things are new now. We are a new South Africa, those olden days of football are gone,” he said.
Key to his side’s success, says Mpengsi, is ensuring the welfare of the playing staff.
“The players are happy, I was looking after them, having the unity, having a good coaching staff. I promised the players good financial bonuses, the majority of the players are from the shacks, like I am myself. Now we are in the promised land and we are hoping to get good sponsorship, which I’m sure we will.”
There’s not much time to rest now for Mpengesi and his coach Roger Sikhakhane, who will remain in charge for next season: the playing squad will be revamped, while high goals are already being set.
“We want to see how we can chase the Premiership title, our goal is to go to Africa. For me now to take a decision to appoint a new coach, a new technical team would be a disaster. So we sat down together and said lets see where we can take us.
“We will assess the playing squad, as you can see we have got quality players, thanks to teams who helped us, who gave us players, like Ajax and Pirates. Hopefully they will help us again because time is against us.”