Frank ‘Jingles’ Pereira has died aged 77 after struggling with cancer for several years and will be fondly remembered as one of the greats of the domestic game.
His career straddled the apartheid sporting barrier, playing for Powerlines and Cape Town City in the old whites-only National Football League and then becoming a fan favourite at Kaizer Chiefs.
His nickname came from the fact he played with coins in his pocket while still only 10 years old and was christened after someone shouted out “jingle bells”.
Born in Madeira, he played first at Vaal United in Vereeniging, where he was brought up, before joining Powerlines alongside the likes of Walter da Silva, who Pereira always described as his favourite player. At Cape Town City, he was a Hartleyvale hero and his move to Chiefs was a major signing for AmaKhosi, grabbing one of the best white players of the time.
Pereira was only 24 when he was named best player of the NFL in 1969 and four years later was top scorer as Cape Town City won their one and only league title. He had been playing since the age of 18, debuting first in 1963 with Vaal United.
He moved to Chiefs in 1980 and was part of their title-winning side in 1981, where he finished just behind teammate Nelson ‘Teenage’ Dladla in the voting for South Africa’s Footballer of the Year.
Pereira had by then been converted by coach Mario Tuani from a striker to a centre-back and played with majestic ease in the back-four for AmaKhosi. His elegance on the ball endeared him to Chiefs supporters and he remained a public figure for the rest of his life.
Pereira left Chiefs in 1983 for Benoni, where he became player-coach, but he hung up his boots midway through the 1984 season after the 4-1 loss to Durban City at King’s Park, saying he wanted to concentrate on his business interests. He was a successful businessman, manufacturing toilet paper, with factories in Johannesburg, but had one more dip of his toe in the managerial waters with a spell as coach of Orlando Pirates in 1986.
Pitso Mosimane’s nickname came from Pereira. “I liked one guy called Jingles Pereira, he played for Kaizer Chiefs as a centre-back,” Mosimane explained at the time when asked why he was called Jingles.
“I liked the way he played from the back as a defender that could pass the ball from the back. In fact, he was converted, he was an attacker and then played centre-back. And I like the way he played. I always spoke about the guy and then the name stuck to me from my friends.”
By Mark Gleeson (courtesy of www.mtnfc.co.za)