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KICK OFF editor reflects on milestone

With the 500th edition of KICK OFF now on sale, editor Zola Doda picks out some seminal moments in the magazine’s history in his column.  

READ: What’s in the new KICK OFF!

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It seems like yesterday, but working on my first ever KICK OFF Magazine deadline on Tuesday, 8 June 1999 made me realise just how much hard work goes behind the scenes in putting together this great publication.

The field reporters, sub-editor, designers and the editor all work around the clock, taking nothing for granted until the final product reaches the hands of the loyal readers.

In those days, KICK OFF was a fortnightly magazine which went to print every second Tuesday before hitting shelves the following Monday. But the problem with the Tuesday of my first deadline was that the following day, Mamelodi Sundowns were due to play Cape Town Spurs while Kaizer Chiefs were taking on Dynamos in two simultaneous matches that would decide the league champions that season.

Afraid that we were going to print before we knew the identity of the league champions, then editor Richard Maguire informed the printers to hold the pages until the pulsating and dramatic end to the 1998/99 season had been decided.

With Maguire at Johannesburg Stadium to cover Chiefs while chief reporter Ray Nxumalo was at Odi Stadium to cover Sundowns, the rest of the KICK OFF staff sat glued in front of the television in the Cape Town office that Wednesday evening, ready to lay out and proof pages as soon as the title’s fate had been decided.

With Maguire at Johannesburg Stadium to cover Chiefs while chief reporter Ray Nxumalo was at Odi Stadium to cover Sundowns, the rest of the KICK OFF staff sat glued in front of the television in the Cape Town office that Wednesday evening, ready to lay out and proof pages as soon as the title’s fate had been decided.

Chiefs thumped Dynamos 5-1 on the night, but Sundowns beat Cape Town Spurs 2-0 and were crowned champions with a superior goal difference. And by the early hours of the following morning, the 104th edition of KICK OFF had been put to bed and sent to printers following a gruelling but enthralling 24-hour office shift.

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