Neil Robert Tovey OIS (born 2 July 1962) is a South African football coach and former player and also brother of former footballer Mark Tovey. He was born in Pretoria. He holds the record for most appearances in the National Soccer League.

Neil Tovey
Personal information
Full name Neil Robert Tovey
Date of birth (1962-07-02) 2 July 1962 (age 59)
Place of birth Pretoria, South Africa
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)[1]
Position(s) Central defender
Youth career
1980–1981 Virginia United FC , Juventus Durban
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1981–1985 Durban City 174 (17)
1986–1989 AmaZulu 117 (14)
1990–1999 Kaizer Chiefs 341 (27)
Total 634 (58)
National team
1992–1997 South Africa 52 (0)
Teams managed
1998–1999 Kaizer Chiefs (player-assistant coach)
2000–2001 Mamelodi Sundowns
2001–2002 AmaZulu
2003–2004 Hellenic
2005–2006 Mamelodi Sundowns
2009–2010 AmaZulu
2010 Mpumalanga Black Aces
2011–2012 Thanda Royal Zulu
2015–2020 South Africa (Technical Director)
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Early careerEdit

Tovey was born in Pretoria but grew up in Durban. He had been playing soccer since 1969.[2] He aspired to be a doctor before opting to play professional football. His brother Mark who was also a footballer used to give him football lessons.[3] He was also coached at junior level at Juventus Durban by Clive Barker.[2]

Club careerEdit

Durban CityEdit

He made his professional debut for Durban City in 1981 and won the 1982 and 1983 NPSL titles under Clive Barker and played 176 league games.[4] Tovey was transfer listed on 12 March 1986.[5]


He scored on debut in a 2--1 win over Arcadia Shepherds in Durban on 4 April 1986. He also scored in a 5--1 win over Kaizer Chiefs on 8 June 1986 in what became Chiefs' worst loss ever.[5] He stayed until 1989 and played 117 league games.[4]

Kaizer ChiefsEdit

He joined Chiefs in 1990 and took over captaincy from Howard Freese in 1992 wearing the number 9 jersey. In the same season, Tovey got a record 52 starts which is still a record.[6] He was converted to defence by Philippe Troussier. He led Chiefs to cup victory scored two very important goals in the Rothmans Cup against QwaQwa Stars and Umtata Bush Bucks.[7] He played 341 league games for Chiefs.[4] He played 362 matches and scored 32 goals in all competitions.[2] In the very last match of his career and his last two touches Chiefs colours resulted in a goal in a 5–1 win over Dynamos on 9 June 1999.[7]

International careerEdit

Tovey is a former player of the South Africa national football team, and won 52 caps for the national side without scoring a goal.[8] He captained the team 29 times.[4]

Coaching careerEdit

Tovey coached Banyana Banyana to COSAFA Cup victory in 2002.[2] Tovey saved Hellenic from relegation in the 2003–04 season.[9] He got his UEFA A licence with a 90% pass in Hennef, Germany, which were the best marks since 1998.[2] On 27 June 2015 Tovey became technical director of South Africa national football team.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

Tovey lives in Johannesburg with his wife Nadine Tovey and has three children, Bianca (b. 1991), Jessica (b. 1993) and Sheldon (b. 1997).[9] His second daughter Jessica was a Miss Teen SA finalist in 2011 where Tyra Banks shared a picture of her on Instagram. Sheldon wears a hearing aid and has impaired speech because oxygen was cut off from his brain after being burnt by scalding water in 1998.[11] On 23 February 2015, Tovey was admitted to ICU after suffering from three heart attacks during a game of squash.[12] Tovey suffered a further heart attack in October 2016, and was admitted to hospital.[13]


  1. ^ "Is This Why Bafana Can't Stand Tall?".
  2. ^ a b c d e "The coach for Chiefs".
  3. ^ "Neil Tovey". Kids Encyclopedia. Britannica.
  4. ^ a b c d "Neil Tovey in charge at Mpumalanga Black Aces".
  5. ^ a b "Full text of "Kickoff December 2015"".
  6. ^ "Meet the Speakers". Archived from the original on 29 May 2015.
  7. ^ a b "South Africa 1998/99".
  8. ^ Passo Alpuin, Luis Fernando & Tabeira, Martín (28 May 2009). "South Africa – International Appearances". RSSSF. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
  9. ^ a b "Account Suspended".
  10. ^ "Former captain Neil Tovey named as SA's technical director". BBC Sport. 27 June 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  11. ^ "Tovey's girl 'has what it takes'".
  12. ^ "Former Bafana Bafana skipper in intensive care".
  13. ^ "Former Bafana skipper Neil Tovey suffers heart attack". Sport 24. Retrieved 16 October 2016.

External linksEdit