Better known as “Pandy” for his exceptional agility as a goalkeeper, Godfrey De Kock started hid soccer career in 1958 for Arsenal FC in Lea Place, South End. A year later he joined Swallows FC in the u10 division and subsequently played for St. Monica’s Primary at the age of 11. He made and immediate impact as a goalkeeper and was selected to represent year Eastern Province Juniors as a 12year old, travelling to Oudtshoorn for the first time. At the tender age of 14, he was drafted to the senior ranks of Swallows as an understudy for the talented first team keeper, Kana Moodaley. Challenging Moodaley for the Goalkeeping birth was a massive task for a young teenager and at the age of 16, De Kock left Swallows FC and joined Paladins FC to get regular game time. This move paid off as he rapidly established himself as the premier Goalkeeper at Paladins.
In 1965, he rejoined Swallows as a 19 year old and his performances for their first team earned him selection to the Senior Eastern Province team to participate in the prestigious Kajee Cup Inter-provincial. Pandy soon established himself as the top goalkeeper in the province and in 1966, with him in Goals, EP shared the Kajee Cup with Southern Natal and Western Province. While participating in the Cape Town Glenville tournament the following year, De Kock picked up his first major individual accolade when he was voted as the Best Goalkeeper at the event. He followed that up with Eastern Province Sportsman of the year award in 1968. His obvious ability and talent did not go unnoticed and in 1971, he joined the federation Professional League team, Glenville. He soon established himself as a champion goalkeeper for Glenville and he always seemed to reserve his best performances in the derby encounters against Cape TownSpurs (Now Ajax Cape Town). Glenville were particularly sad to lose his services in 1973 when he returned to Port Elizabeth and rejoined his beloved Swallows FC.
Displaying his now customary “rock of gibralter” performances between the posts, he immediately regained his Goalkeeping position in the EP team and held on to this throughout the seventies and early eighties. In 1977, De Kock switched allegiances and joined the Bethelsdorp based FairviewRovers FC. In the same year he was appointed the Captain of the South African Soccer Federation (SASF) squad that participated at the South African Council on Sport (Sacos) festival in Cape Town. This festival was the most prestigious event of the non-racial sportsfraternity in South Africa at the time as it showcased the “cream” of the non-racial sportspersons. It ranks as one of De Kock’s most valued achievements.
In 1982, with De Kock at the helm, EP annexed the SASF inter-provincial trophy outright for the first time. It was indeed a milestone in the history of EP Soccer and it catapulted EP to the summit of amateur soccer in the country. Remarkably, at the age of 39 in 1984, Pandy was once more selected to captain the SASF team and added another EP Sportsman of the Year Award to his already impressive array of awards later that year.
Although it seemed like it would never happen, “Father Time” eventually caught up with Pandy around 1985 when he called time on his playing career.
He will probably be most remembered for his most astonishing feat during his short stint with GlenvilleFC in the Federation Professional ranks. Faced with a crucial penalty in the final of the McCarthy Professional tournament, Pandy, in what must have been a world first, turned his back on the penalty taker, bent over and peered at him through his legs. The penalty taker (who ironically had scored a penalty against De Kock in a previous encounter), astounded by this action, proceeded to take the penalty kick, expecting to score with ease. And then…the unthinkable, the unexpected and most amazing piece of goalkeeping ever witnessed in South Africa (if not the world) happened. At the instant when the kick was taken, De Kock, like a Panda (hence the nickname Pandy), turned around in a flash and yes…..unbelievably, saved the penalty. The kicker was dumbfounded, the spectators were left bewildered and dumbstruck and when reality finally broke, Pandy received tumultuous applause and enhanced his credentials as one of the best Goalkeepers ever produced in the history of South African Soccer.
During his glittering career, Pandy also spent some time with English and former Europeanchampions Nottingham Forest and trained with England Goalkeeping icon Gordon Banks…rated the best goalkeeper in the world during his time. Banks was the England Goalkeeper in 1966 when England won the World Cup. After his playing career came to an end, De Kock turned his attention to coaching and rapidly established himself as one of the leading coaches in the game. His contribution to the development of young players is second to none and some of his coachingstints include the following:
Head Coach: EP Kajee Cup teams (1980’s)
Head Coach: Fairview Rovers FC
Head Coach: Glenville Celtic FC Castle league
Head Coach: Northern Areas Junior Development
Head Coach: Northern Areas UK Tour 2007
Head Coach: SAFA EP (now SAFA NMB)
Administrator of the year 1991: NAFA
Coach of the year 1992: NAFA
He has also been involved in the activity of NAFA on an administrative level, serving as Vice-president in charge of junior affairs for the past 10 years. In the recently approved new structure of NAFA, De Kock was voted as Chairman of the Junior Operations portfolio. He has won numerous awards from SAFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for his contribution to junior development.