Kick Off magazine, a renowned South African football publication, has shut down. It is no secret that the publication has battled greatly over the past ten years, along with nearly every other magazine (and newspaper) in South Africa, with the Covid-19 pandemic heralding the death of many.
The most recent and last edition of the magazine, which went on sale on Sunday, made this revelation. For 28 years, Kick Off was the bible of sport in South Africa, but it had been struggling financially. Kickoff.com’s internet component will keep running. The magazine’s founding editor, journalist Mark Gleeson, said its closure is regrettable for South African football.
“It’s very sad. It lasted a quarter of a century and spanned almost from SA’s readmission into African and world football through the highs of Bafana Bafana winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 and going to successive World Cups in 1998 and 2002, to reflect the glory days of SA football. The magazine’s demise comes at a time when the game is at a low ebb, which is sad. I feel, personally, having started it, quite bereft actually.”
A sad day for SA football and SA football journalism… after 28 years iconic Kick Off magazine is shutting down pic.twitter.com/U51hYOn4D8
— Marc Strydom (@marc_strydom) August 21, 2022
In his final editorial, editor Zola Doda penned: “It’s hard to imagine that when we celebrated Kick Off magazine’s 28th birthday in February that would be our last one as a print publication,
“Kick Off was launched in February 1994 as a magazine that was going to give a voice to SA players at the dawn of democracy. In September 1996 we changed our print frequency from monthly to fortnightly, which was followed by the launch of our website, kickoff.com, in 1999.
“As the popularity of the local game grew in the new millennium so did we and our greatest achievement was by far the 2010 Fifa World Cup where we were official partners. But unfortunately, with rising inflation, increasing fuel and paper prices, and a decline in circulation and advertising sales the last 10 years have been the toughest we have faced not just as a publication but the print industry as a whole.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, which saw local football postponed for six months, had a devastating effect, which made it difficult for us to reach pre-pandemic levels once the football returned. In light of this, a difficult decision to close the print edition of Kick Off magazine was made, with this September edition being the last one.
“From the very first edition with Sam ‘Ewee’ Kambule on the cover to the last with Themba Zwane our readers had been there with us all the way. While we close the chapter on our print publication our digital platform, kickoff.com, will remain and our journalists around the country will keep you up to date with the latest breaking news, transfer stories, and match reports.”
Rob Moore, the managing director of Touchline Media, and Gleeson came up with the idea for Kick Off. Due to financial struggles, Pieter du Toit, owner of Soccer Laduma (SL), purchased the magazine ten years ago.Media24 continued to run Kick Off and SL when Du Toit retired.