Former Mamelodi Sundowns and Venezuela striker Jose Torrealba has explained why Kaizer Chiefs are the biggest footballing institution in South Africa.
Torrealba spent six years of his career in the PSL over two separate stints, representing Sundowns between 2005 and 2007 before returning with Chiefs in 2008, where he remained for three seasons.
Nicknamed ‘El Budah’, the diminutive striker was a firm fan favourite in South African football due to his high work-rate and low centre of gravity which made him an instant hit in the league known for its incredible flair.
Speaking exclusively to African Football HQ, Torrealba admits Mzansi evokes fond memories and barely hesitated to note that there was one club that stood out from the rest.
“There are three big clubs, [Mamelodi] Sundowns, [Orlando] Pirates and Chiefs,” Torrealba explains. “They all have a history of winning, many fans and great organisations.
“I think Kaizer Chiefs putting these qualities together ends up being the biggest of the three in my opinion. What it represents as an organisation, at least what I saw during my stay there, the story of a winning team, and no offence to the Sundowns supporters, it’s great fans, but Chiefs the team with more fans in South Africa.
When pressed for his opinion on the incredible progression of the Brazilians who’ve won the CAF Champions League, Super Cup and 10 PSL top-flight titles, the 40-year-old says it evokes pride to see their rise towards the global audiences.
“They have a large organisation, board and owner who wants to take it to a higher level,” Torrealba said. “It was very pleasing for me when I heard they had won the Champions League; seeing them participate in the World Club Championship filled me with pride and emotion.”
Despite not achieving much success during his second stint in South Africa, Torrealba departed home with a credible record of d 34 goals in 95 starts across all competitions.