Zadok the Priest – How text on King Solomon’s anointing (1Kings1:38-40) inspired what we know as the Champions League anthem.

So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon. And Zadok the priest took a horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save King Solomon. And all the people came up after him, and the people played on flutes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth shook with the sound of them. (1 Kings 1: 38-40)


It is football at its best. Known to excite the hearts of footballers and fans alike, the UEFA Champions League anthem is played at the start of all games in the competition, and is also in all Champions League broadcasts.

Indeed, we all love Champions League football – it’s a league of extraordinary gentlemen,extraordinary games, extraordinary comebacks and it seems extraordinary music. It is football at its best. Memories of Man Utd in 1999, Zidane in 2001, Liverpool in 2005, and even last night’s demolition of Barca by Bayern flood back, sending a pre-match rush down the spine whenever and wherever the anthem is played.

But have you ever wondered what on earth that anthem means? Or where it comes from?

I always believed it was a classical piece of Italian music, sung by The 3 tenors and was guilty of just humming along without any understanding. Yet, I was wrong.

The Champions League anthem is actually an adaptation of Zadok the Priest (written by George Friedrich Handel in the 18th century) one of four coronation anthems – music designed to accompany the crowning of a monarch. Zadok the Priest is the most famous of the four, written for the crowning of King George II & Queen Caroline in 1727. Other Handel coronation anthems are Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened, The King Shall Rejoice, and My Heart Is Inditing and have been performed at every British coronation since that occasion.

The text for all for anthems is found from the King James Bible.

The text for the original Zadok the Priest in particular, can be found in the biblical account of the anointing of King Solomon by Zadok the priest & Nathan the prophet. Music at its best. (1 Kings 15:38-40) especially the words And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save King Solomon…”

The King Shall Rejoice uses a text from Psalm 21 and Handel sets each of the four sentences and the final Hallelujah as separate musical sections. My Heart is Inditing is an adapted and abridged text using verses from Psalms 45 and Isaiah 49. Psalm 89:13 is used for Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened.

Zadok the Priest was recast into the UEFA anthem in 1992 (when the old European cup was re branded into the current Champions League) by British composer Tony Britten. It is purely an adaptation of the original version and was written by Mr Britten in the three official UEFA languages (English, French & German) and in summary simply says “These are the champions, the masters and this is the main event”

One of the most famous performances was by the blind opera singer Andrea Bocelli, the world’s most talented classical musician in the 2009 Champions League final between ManU & Barca. Bocelli is blind &ironically, his blindness was caused by a football accident (he was hit in the head and suffered a brain hemorrhage) aged 12. Football at its worst.

But from crowning King Solomon BC to crowning kings in post medieval era of enlightenment (18th century) to crowning modern day kings of football, Zadok the priest’s mark has indelibly been passed down.











The UEFA Champions League anthem (lyrics & meaning)

I remember laughing at a Heiniken commercial where a bunch of guys stood in front of a TV, hand-on-heart, just before they watched a UEFA Champions League game. It was funny because we (my friends and I) were guilty of the same – humming along to that glorious piece of music, in anticipation of watching the best footballers.

For almost 2 decades I have loved the Champions League football – memories stretch back to primary school days. As a 10 year old boy, I remember watching the great Juventus side of the mid-90s beat Ajax Amsterdam on penalties in what turned out to be their last European triumph. I remember Man Utd’s amazing injury time comeback in the 1999 final, Zidane’s incredible volley in 2002, Liverpool coming back from 3-0 at half time in 2005. All these memories come flooding back whenever I hear the UEFA anthem. But have you ever wondered what on earth that anthem means?

As young boys, we somehow always believed it was another classical piece of Italian music, sung by The 3 tenors. But we were wrong. Even at an older age, I was guilty of just yelling without any understanding. How wrong I still was. 

The UEFA anthem is actually an adaptation of Zadok the priest, one of four coronation anthems  (other being Let Thy Hand Be Strengthened, The King Shall Rejoice, and My Heart Is Inditing) – its actually the most famous of the four. This music was composed in 1727 by a man named George Frideric Handel, to accompany the crowning of a british monarch back in the 18th century. The text for all for anthems is found from the King James Bible. The text for Zadok the priest in particular, can be found in the biblical account of the anointing of King Solomon by Zadok the priest &  Nathan the prophet. (1 Kings 15:38-40) especially the words “And the people rejoiced….”

Zadok the priest was recast into the UEFA anthem in 1992 (when the old European cup was rebranded into the current Champions League) by British composer Tony Britten. It is written in the three official UEFA languages (English, French & German) and in summary simply says “These are the champions, the masters, the very best featuring in the main event”

Lyrics below:

Ce sont les meilleures équipes
Sie sind die allerbesten Mannschaften
The main event!

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les Grandes Équipes
The Champions!

Une grande réunion
Eine große sportliche Veranstaltung
The main event!

Ils sont les meilleurs
Sie sind die Besten
These are the champions!

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les Grandes Équipes
The Champions!

Die Meister
Die Besten
Les Grandes Équipes
The Champions! 

in English

These are the best teams
The very best teams
The main event!

The Masters
The Best
The Great Teams
The Champions!

A large meeting
A great sports event
The main event!

They are the best
They are the best
These are the champions!

The Masters
The Best
The Great Teams
The Champions!

The Masters
The Best
The Great Teams
The Champions!


SA 2 Morrocco 2 (match report)

Siyabonga Sangweni loosely translated means Thank you Mr Sangweni. And how many were grateful to the Durban born defender last night, whose well taken goal sealed a 2-2 draw that ensured quarter final qualification for the host nation. Here is a man whose goal in the previous game had broken Bafana’s duck of 3 games without a goal – this time his goal took Bafana not only into the next round, but also to the top of their group. And the nation to the height of their emotions

Fans thronged to the stadium in numbers on Sunday night, singing and blowing their vuvuzela’s – cheering a side who would later trail twice in the game. Morocco will host the next AfCoN edition in 2015 and how they wished they had 50 thousand cheering them on last night.

Like the rain that threatened all afternoon (and even gave a drizzle) a dark cloud of pessimism surrounded the Bafana camp before the tournament, following 3 goal less games. Journalists questioned the coach’s tactics as loudly as fans questioned the team’s hunger. But those questions were answered on Sunday night in equal thrilling measure.

The much maligned Igesund stuck with Wednesday night’s starting XI. In their previous 3 games between the sides, Bafana had not lost to Morocco (2draws and one win). They knew that a draw would be enough to seal qualification but were going for all 3 points. The stakes were too high.

It takes two to tango – credit to the Morocco side that played their part in what many consider to be the game of the tournament so far. They started brightly, only the heroics of Itumeleng Khune prevented them running away with the game. Twice the Atlas Lions almost took the lead before finally being repaid for their early pressure when Issam el Adoua headed in from an in swinging corner. Still Morocco came – Belghazouani’s shot parried away by Khune, el Adoua heading just wide. Star player Furman lost his temper and got booked as Bafana struggled to assert their authority.

The turning point in the match came when Morocco beat the offside trap and were through on goal, only for Khune to come out of his box and block with his legs. You sensed that would have been game over and the nation heaved a collective sigh of relief. A Parker snap shot Bafana’s only highlight in a dour 1st half.

The second half started in the same vein as the first, Morocco still being given space to exploit the Bafana defence. Thuso Phala’s stunning free kick came just before el Arabi missed another one on one. Not that Bafana were out of sorts, they huffed and puffed, but couldn’t blow the house down. It needed something special to level the game – and something special it was. May Mahlangu working well with Rantie, then curling a beauty into the top corner in the 70th minute. Morocco took the lead again when Hafidi was left unmarked in the box, shooting past Khune in the 82nd minute.

In the other game, Cape Verde were scoring two late goals and Bafana now faced elimination in the first round if they didn’t find another goal.

Enter Sangweni, with a striker’s finish that sent 50 thousand into ecstasy. And 50 million into dream land.

Dare to dream

LS Moyo

Amazulu 0 Chiefs 6 (match report)

The Olympic games have provided much needed entertainment in the past few weeks, football is slowly reclaiming its gold medal position in sports fans hearts. First the Black Label Cup, then the MTN 8 & now the season proper has begun.

Chiefs lost in penalties in the Black Label Cup and last week, were put to the sword by Sundowns in the MTN8 quarter finals. The onus was on them to respond, not just to those 2 defeats, but also to Pirates opening day victory. And what a response it was.

Six goals with no reply left Chiefs fans in the warmest of moods. They had thronged to the stadium to witness the return of crowd favourite Simphiwe Tshabalala. And he and his teammates didn’t disappoint. The Amazulu defence is renowned for being as tight as a locked door, but in Shabba, Amakhosi have a locksmith – his creativity proving a menace throughout the night. Yet, the night belonged to forward Bernard Parker – with 4 goals ranging from simple to classy and back to simple.

Both sides traded chances early on – Vilakazi, Senamela and Dlamini for the hosts, Nkhatha and Shabba for the visitors. Indeed Amazulu proved more than a match for Chiefs at first. But only for 38 minutes.

Parker opened his scoring spree just before the half, and Nkatha added a second 3 minutes later as Amazulu defence failed to clear Shabalala’s corner.
In the 2nd half Amazulu came oh so close to pulling a goal back, the lively Senamela thumping the crossbar from 25 yards. That was as close as they would come; Chiefs scoring their third 2 minutes later (Parker) and then going on the rampage with Parker’s 3rd and 4th goals. Nkosi added a 6th late on.

The score line was a bit generous on Chiefs, as Amazulu were really not that bad. Similar performances will beat other teams this year, but they were clearly unprepared. Last week’s cancelled pre season tournament proved their undoing – they tired as the game went on.

Chiefs will now look back at the MTN8 defeat with a wry smile, as it helped them to work on their weaknesses.

Amazulu, however have not adequately replaced Thamsanqa Sangweni in the heart of the midfield. He was their best player last season, and was a key performer when Sundown humiliated this Chiefs outfit a week ago, marking Parker out of the game. But last night, he was sorely missed – no wonder Parker shone like a bright star on the night – a night Amazulu will want to forget fast.

Lindelwe Moyo, at the Moses Mabhida.

The Road to Brazil

I was 9 months old when Diego Maradona scored with the ‘Hand of God’. Back then I was too young to understand football and was probably fast asleep. 4 years later, Roger Milla’s antics at Germany 90 were not worth a 2nd glance. The only antics that mattered to me where my own, as a 5 year old, I was beginning to enjoy kicking around a round ball.

Fast forward 4 World Cups and a football crazy childhood, I watched the 2006 World Cup final at a local pub with a few friends. FIFA had already announced that the next edition would be held in South Africa. As Maco Matterazzi picked himself up from that infamous headbutt, we joked with friends that in when the tournament came to neighbouring South Africa, we could be there.

A timely scholarship meant that I would be in South Africa come 2010. I travelled more than 1200km to purchase 10 match tickets for myself & a childhood friend. At the airport, we welcomed visitors from all over the world to South Africa, watching 4 live matches in total (including the 2 finalists, Spain & Holland). We were there.

Many people think its too early to think about Brazil2014. I disagree. World Cup qualifiers have already begun. In fact, there is on average 1460 days between 2 World cups. Today, only 690 days remain. We are nearly there.

Nothing prevents the SouthAfrica 2010 dream from happening again. One advantage fans have over players is that, unlike them, we don’t have to qualify for the World Cup. Our passion qualifies us. In Brazil 2014, we could be there

It all seems impossible, but we remain adamant – impossible is nothing. By we, I’m refering to my friends, who are just as eager, if not more. (Some are even ahead of me in terms of planning). We are under no illusions as to the size of the challenge that awaits us, so we will not be aiming to do this as individuals, but as a team. With teamwork, we can be there.

FIFA chose Russia and Qatar as the next 2 host nations. South Africa 2010 was not the last WorldCup to attend, but the 1st. If the Road2Brazil is to be followed by a Road2Moscow and a Road2Qatar, then it is even more vital that we attend Brazil 2014. We should be there

Like any other road, the Road2Brazil is not for the fainthearted. It will take a lot of dedication, sacrifice, committment and faith. But we are willing. For when the greatest show on earth resumes in less than 2 years time, we must be there.

Lindelwe Son-Of-Moyo



 My blood is red and white – i’m Arsenal till i die.

We lost 6-1 at Old Trafford in 2001; i was an Arsenal supporter.

We won the league at Old Trafford in 2002; I was an Arsenal supporter.

We won the league undefeated; i was an Arsenal supporter.

We went 49 games undefeated; I was an Arsenal supporter.

I’m Arsenal till I die.

Before Arsene Wenger, I was an Arsenal supporter.

After Arsene Wenger, I’ll be an Arsenal supporter.

We moved to the Emirates, I did not stop being an Arsenal supporter.

Whether we’re relegated or are European champions, I will support Arsenal.

The Gunners of London will fire again – I’m Arsenal till I die


They ask how many trophies have you won in 6 years?

I ask, ‘how many stadiums have you built in 6 years?’

Leeds United was relegated. Juventus FC was relegated. That was crisis?

We’ve got something special that’s the height of perfection.

A club to be proud of that deserves our affection

Crisis! What crisis? – I’m Arsenal till I die.

In good times and in bad times, I’m an Arsenal supporter. Note the difference.

Fans are those who joined us in 2004 when we went 49 games undefeated.

Supporters are those who sing ‘Arsenal’ even if we go 49 games without a win.

It’s not just about money without tradition. But it’s about pride, history and glory.

Mark my words; we will rise up from the dust!!

125 years and counting – I’m Arsenal till i die

Zambia 0 Ivory Coast 0 (Zambia win on pens)Match report (by Lindelwe S Moyo)

The ghosts of Gabon 1993 were buried in scintillating style last night in a football contest that started on Sunday night and finished on Monday morning. But no-one complained about sleep on a night that we were reminded what football is all about. As Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini watched on, they must have wondered what has gone wrong with the game in Europe: where the love of money continues to negatively influence the tide of the worlds greatest sport.

Last night, we were treated to all that is right about football: passion, talent and non-stop thrills, and less of all that is wrong: red cards, racism, diving and violent crowds.

Back in 1993, members and staff of the Zambian national team perished in a plane crash not too far from last night’s venue – an incident that will always be remembered by football followers, moreso the country of Zambia. Yet last nights incredible turn of events will also be etched not only in the record books, but also in our memories and our hearts.

Indeed, Zambia getting to the semi finals was a surprise in itself, and many thought their fairy tale run would come to an end in the semi finals against the 2010 World Cup fairy tale team, Ghana. But these Zambians thought otherwise, dispatching of the Black Stars in imperious, if fortunate, fashion.

Yet against a star-studded Ivory Coast, who would have thought? Here was a team that boasted 7 players who had played in the English Premier League and the rest from top leagues in Europe; a team filled with talents that all 16 continental managers who graced this event could only dream of. On talent alone, Ivory Coast were run away winners. But last night was not a talent show, it was a football match.

“We did not play well but we also had our chances. It is a huge disappointment, we had expected a different outcome,” Ivorian coach Francois Zahoui said.

Indeed, many people did.

When Musonda was forced off the pitch after 5 minutes due to a freak injury, he shed tears as he realised he was missing out on history being made. At that early point, you sensed the Zambians wanted it more.

The first clear chance fell for Sinkala after a well worked corner, but the Ivorian keeper saved well. The Ivorians hadn’t conceded a goal in the entire tournament and Zambia would need to be more clinical to change that. Yaya Toure missed narrowly (his only meanigful contribution in a disappointning outing for the best player on the continent) in a game that was characterised by few clear cut chances. When Drogba skyed his 70th minute penalty, the tide seemed to turn to the Zambians favour. Livewire captain Chris Katongo forced the best save of the match in extra time, as both teams had chamces to seal it in 120 minutes.

The dreaded shootout saw 14 perfect spot kicks before both sides missed one apiece. But when celebrated Gervinho hesitated, Zambia pounced and the entire herd of elephants became prey. Enter Sunzu, who sent his effort into the roof of the net, and sparked off wild celebrations in Lusaka, that reverberated worldwide.

In a remarkable tale the underdog was the top dog and the Zambian players celebrated in memory of their fallen stars. For them, it was more than just a game!