Steve Mokone

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Steve Mokone
Personal information
Full name Stephen Madi Mokone
Date of birth (1932-03-23)23 March 1932
Place of birth Doornfontein, South Africa
Date of death 19 March 2015(2015-03-19) (aged 82)
Place of death Washington, D.C., USA
Playing position Striker
Youth career
Pretoria Home Stars
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1955–1957 Coventry City 4 (1)
1957–1959 Heracles (15)
1959 Cardiff City 3 (1)
1959–1960 Barcelona 0 (0)
1960Marseille (loan) 0 (0)
1960–1961 Torino 0 (0)
1961–1962 Valencia 0 (0)
1964 Sunshine George Cross 15 (10)
National team
1948–1964 South Africa Black XI
Teams managed
1964 Sunshine George Cross
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Stephen Madi Mokone OIG (23 March 1932 – 19 March 2015) was a South African footballer who was the first black South African player to play in a professional European league.

He was nicknamed The Black Meteor and Kalamazoo.

Early years[edit]

Mokone was born in Doornfontein, a suburb of Johannesburg, but his family moved to Sophiatown before settling in Kilnerton in Pretoria.

Club career[edit]

Mokone attracted much attention in his native South Africa, making his debut for a South Africa Black XI at the age of just 16. The Durban Bush Bucks player was close to signing for English side Newcastle United but for the intervention of his father, who wished him to continue his studies. Mokone began his professional career in 1955 with English side Coventry City, where he made four league appearances, scoring one goal in the process.[1] He later played in the Netherlands with Heracles Almelo, for whom he scored twice at his debut and won the 1958 Tweede Divisie title to become a club legend.[2] He was the first foreign professional player in Dutch football.[3] A stand in Heracles' Polman Stadion is named after him.

He later joined Cardiff City, making a goalscoring debut on the opening day of the 1959–60 season on 22 August 1959 during a 3–2 victory over Liverpool.[4] He made just two more league appearances for the side,[5] before being signed in 1959 by Spanish side FC Barcelona. However, because Barcelona had filled their quota of foreign players, he was loaned to French side Marseille. Mokone later played in Italy for Torino and in Spain for Valencia CF, before finishing his career in Australia with Sunshine George Cross[6] and in Canada.

After football[edit]

In 1964 Mokone moved to the United States. There he was convicted and imprisoned for separate felony assaults committed in 1977 against his then wife, Joyce Maaga Mokone, and the 34-year-old female attorney who was representing Ms. Mokone in divorce and custody proceedings at the time. On 31 October 1978, Mokone pleaded guilty in Superior Court of Middlesex County New Jersey to the crime of atrocious assault for having personally attacked his wife with lye on 20 November 1977. He was subsequently sentenced to serve between 8 and 12 years in New Jersey State Prison.[7] In 1980 Mokone stood trial in New York County, New York, accused of having orchestrated an attack on his wife's lawyer, Ann Boylan Rogers, in which sulfuric acid was thrown in her face outside her home in Manhattan on 8 October 1977.[8] Ms. Rogers was left seriously disfigured and blind in one eye. Mokone was found guilty of Assault in the First Degree in May 1980 and later sentenced to serve 5 to 15 years in New York State Prison after having completed his New Jersey sentence. He was released from custody in August 1990.

In 1996, he founded the Kalamazoo South African Foundation. Dutch sports journalist Tom Egbers wrote a novel based on Mokone,[9] which was made into a movie in 2000; both novel and movie are called The Black Meteor (De Zwarte Meteoor).

Mokone died in Washington on 19 March 2015.[10][11][12][13]


In text citations[edit]

  1. ^ "COVENTRY CITY : 1946/47 - 2007/08". Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Transfer Database. Retrieved 2008-11-22.
  2. ^ Steve Mokone, de Zwarte Meteoor, overleden - Tubantia (in Dutch)
  3. ^ Heracles-legende Steve Mokone overleden - Voetbal International (in Dutch)
  4. ^ "Sport pictures - Derek Tapscott". WalesOnline. 24 June 2004. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  5. ^ "Cardiff City: 1946/47 - 2008/09". Post War English & Scottish Football League A - Z Player's Transfer Database. Retrieved 2009-11-27.
  6. ^ "Australian Player Database - M". Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  7. ^ On This Weekend In Football: The Birth Of The Black Meteor - The Daisy Cutter
  8. ^ Mokone v. Kelly, 680 F. Supp. 679 (S.D.N.Y 1988) - Justia US Law
  9. ^ De zwarte meteoor na 36 jaar terug in Almelo - Trouw (in Dutch)
  10. ^ Updated Announcement of Passing of Steve Mokone, Press statement issued 20 March 2015
  11. ^ Steve Mokone
  12. ^ In memoriam: Steve Mokone - 20-03-2015 - Heracles Almelo (in Dutch)
  13. ^ Steve Mokone

Court documents[edit]

1. Mokone v. Kelly, (habeas corpus proceeding in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York), reported at 680 F. Supp. 679 (S.D.N.Y. 1988) -- shows basic facts of case and, in discussion of "Evidence of Other Crimes and Bad Acts," the New Jersey Case.

2. Mokone v Fenton, (habeas corpus proceeding before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit), reported at 710 F. 2d 998 (3d Cir. 1983) -- shows the length of the New Jersey Sentence.

3. New York State Department of Corrections website; "Inmate Lookup" for DIN # 85A5876, Mokone, Steve—shows correct date of birth, crime of conviction, length of sentence, and release date.


See also Phil Vasili 'Colouring Over the White Line. The History of Black Footballers in Britain' (Edinburgh: Mainstream 2000)