Neil ‘Mokoko’ Tovey is one of the former South African football players who made a name for himself in the beautiful game. He was one of the players who were born as leaders and he showed those qualities on and off the field. Neil played football his whole life and is still involved in football activities and currently holds the technical director position at South African Football Association for Bafana Bafana and all junior national sides.
He played for a few teams in South Africa and never played in Europe. He also played for Bafana Bafana and was the team captain when they won the AFCON in 1996 right here in South Africa. He played as a central defender and sometimes played in midfield while he was still establishing his career.
The teams he played for in the country are Durban City, Amazulu, and Kaizer Chiefs. At Durban City he played for 4 years, for Amazulu he played for 3 years and that is when he was signed by Kaizer Chiefs where he played for 9 full years.
In total he played 634 club football in the country which makes him the only player to have played such a number of football games in the then NSL now PSL. Neil also played 52 games for Bafana Bafana and was always in the national team until he resigned from football in 1999.
After retiring he then went on to be a coach and coached Kaizer Chiefs as an assistant coach, Mamelodi Sundowns as a coach, Amazulu, Hellenic, Mpumalanga Black Aces, and Thanda Royal Zulu. While coaching Sundowns he managed to win the Absa Premiership title.
His most memorable moment in football was when he lifted the AFCON trophy in front of the home crowd and Nelson Mandela at the FNB Stadium in 1996. That is the day that Neil will never forget in his football career and is still proud of the achievement as it is still a record as no other generation won it again.
Neil has suffered a few heart attacks in the past 3 years and has survived all of them. This shows how strong Neil is and how inspirational he is to a lot of people in football and in life. He is currently well and healthy although it cannot be confirmed whether another heart attack will occur again or not.
His brother Mark Tovey was also a football player and played for Kaizer Chiefs. Neil also has a wife and kids. They supported him throughout his career and are still in full support of him now that his health condition has deteriorated. He is still part of the football world and doing what he loves.
While playing for Kaizer Chiefs, Neil won a lot of trophies as the team captain and is one of the captains who won a lot of trophies in local football. He played alongside the likes of Ace Khuse, Doctor Khumalo, Wellington Manyathi and a lot more talented former players.
Indeed Neil’s contribution to the development of South African football is there for everyone to see.