Kaizer Chiefs says story about gay footballer coming out is “fake”


Top South African football club Kaizer Chiefs says a recent story about one of its players coming out is fake, although it does not speculate about its players’ sexuality.

The online article claimed that the player, who we have chosen not to name, had decided to open up about “being gay”. He was quoted as apparently saying: “You live this double life where you’ve got a secret about yourself and you don’t want people to find out.

“Then when you go to training you need to focus on your game, not on your sexuality. But it’s hard not to think about it because the two are so intertwined.”

The article included a series of pictures said to be of the player kissing and hugging another man which were also widely posted on social media. The photos were further shared by The Citizen, which asked, “Is this [the player] kissing a man?” It speculated if the images had been photoshopped.

While Mambaonline was unable to contact the player directly for confirmation about the veracity of the article, we reached out to Kaizer Chiefs Corporate Communications Manager Vina Alpheus Maphosa.

He responded that “The story is fake and we would not like to give it credibility by a response,” although he added that “Kaizer Chiefs does not request a confirmation of any employees’ sexual orientation- it is a private and personal matter.”

We asked Maphosa if Chiefs has measures in place to support any of its players who might come out as gay, to which he replied: “Yes we do, we have very good support structures in place in the club.”

He also revealed that Kaizer Chiefs is considering launching an awareness campaign to promote inclusion among fans and in the sport “around accepting ALL human beings, regardless of their sexual orientation, social and or demographic background.”

The only confirmed openly gay male footballer in South Africa is goalkeeper Phuti Lekoloane, who came out in 2016.

Earlier this year, he spoke of his devastation after being stigmatised and discriminated against by fellow footballers in the change rooms because of his sexuality.

The local and international sports world remains overwhelmingly closeted, with very few, especially male, players or athletes being open about their sexuality. In football, homophobic chants continue to be used by fans in several countries, despite the imposition of fines.

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