A story about football, loyalty, and fatherhood, Netflix’s The Queenstown Kings is a brilliant tale about a small community in Nedbank, South Africa, where dreams were soaring high until the football legend Malusi Mkhuli Mahamba passed away. He was a legendary figure in the community, and his demise started the chain of events that brought the ‘prodigal son’ Buyile back into the community’s fold and gave him one last chance to bring his life back on track and be an example to his son Fezile. Directed by Jahmil X.T. Qubeka, The Queenstown Kings covers a variety of issues and, through its upbeat storytelling, keeps us thoroughly entertained throughout its run time.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
After the news of his father’s demise reached Buyile, he was obligated to attend his funeral. The call had come straight from his fierce mother, and he didn’t have a choice. Buyile, known as the ‘Terror’ in football circles, was an aging superstar of the game and had been out of the team for some time now owing to his injury. Buyile had let himself go in a way, drinking and dabbling in drugs during his ‘recovery’ period. At such a time, he had to return to his hometown and present a good face to the family he had left behind. He had left his wife, Xoliswa, while she was pregnant with Fezile and started living with the bombshell Boity. Xoliswa had married a policeman named Fana, but Fezile lived with his grandma. Now Buyile was coming back, and he knew he would have to face his son Fezile, who was almost 18 and who harbored dreams of being the best striker in the world, even better than Buyile himself. Fezile dreamt of winning the Nedbank Cup, for which his team had to clear the qualification round, playing regional matches with local teams. Buyile had no idea how to deal with his ambitious adolescent son and the wife he had abandoned. With all that pressure in front of him, Buyile began a journey involving several decisions that made matters worse before something happened that forced him to make them better.
Why Did Buyile End Up In Jail?
Malusi’s death was mourned throughout the nation. People from all around the nation had gathered in the small village to pay their respects. Buyile was living in the city and had decided to drive to his hometown. Accompanying him was his wife, Boity, who just worried about her makeup all the time and not about the fact that Buyile had a drinking problem. Ever since his injury, he was mostly found drunk or playing FIFA, and this habit had turned into an addiction. The trip was a long one, and Buyile couldn’t control himself and drank like crazy while driving. Having no regard for the safe driving limit, he ended up getting tailed by the local police. Buyile must have thought that even if he got caught, he would get a free pass as he was a local hero, Malusi’s only son, who had gone on to play league matches for a renowned club. His celebrity status had faded, it seemed, as he was jailed, which meant that only Boity made it to the funeral while he waited for someone to bail him out. Buyile ended up missing Malusi’s funeral, making it even harder for Fezile to respect him.
How Did Buyile Bond With Fana?
Fana bailed Buyile out, but in his court hearing, Buyile asked the judge to punish him via the route of community service, where he could coach the regional team, ‘Queenstown Kings’. Fana, naturally, didn’t like Buyile. Buyile had been irresponsible all his life. Fana was a responsible policeman and carried himself with humility. Buyile was always carrying the persona of an ultra-cool footballer, a famous and flamboyant man who could charm anybody. The small town went crazy seeing him, and all the young footballers flocked to see Buyile. The regional team was thrilled to have him around, seeing it as the next best thing after getting mentored by Malusi. But Malusi was old and frail, and the youngsters needed a coach with rigor and integrity. Fana had taken up the responsibility of coaching the young boys, but Buyile was now vying to be their coach. Fana was livid at Buyile’s audacity, and their coaching styles were radically different as well. There seemed to be no way for them to work together. Fana was someone who believed in ‘tough love’ and he mostly gave that to Fezile, as he wanted him to push himself harder. Fezile wasn’t taking Fana’s treatment too kindly and was hoping to get an offer letter from Mamelodi Sundowns, a club known for cherry-picking talented players from regional teams. Buyile was trying hard to bond with Fana so that the team could win and his son Fezile, whom both men cared about, could inch closer towards achieving his dream. Buyile offered to get the money required for the Nedbank Cup and earned Fana’s respect. Buyile was willing to be an ‘assistant coach’ but then tragedy struck and forced Buyile to face his demons.
Why Did Fezile Refuse The Offer?
Buyile was addicted. There was no other way to put it. He could function most of the time, but things were getting worse. The real trouble started when his contract wasn’t renewed by his club, which essentially meant it was time for him to retire from football. His wife Boity left him, as he was always on the field. But it seemed as though Buyile’s mother was pleased that Boity had left him, as that meant he could focus on Fezile. Time was running out, and Buyile needed to change his lifestyle if he was to be of any help to Fezile and Fana.
Meanwhile, Fezile was getting attracted to a local cheerleader, whom he liked very much. She was the girlfriend of an up-and-coming footballer who had been picked by the Sundowns. He wanted the same fame for himself, and the Queenstown Kings seemed secondary to Sundowns. But as destiny had it, the offer letter came when his team needed him the most. When the knockout matches were near, Fana was badly wounded in the line of duty. Buyile, the ‘assistant,’ was now the head coach, and he began to regroup the team. He even brought in a local rugby player, Jaco, figuring he would be a strong midfielder, which the team badly needed. Without Fana, he understood that he needed to lead the youngsters (many of whom were dabbling in drugs) by example. There was no other way, and when he saw how dedicated the youngsters were, he gave up drinking as well. Buyile felt like he was a youngster himself, and his love of football was renewed. He wanted to pour all his wisdom into the team and sacrifice anything for it. He sold all of his possessions because he had promised to get the registration money for the Nedbank Cup. Buyile’s sacrifice didn’t go to waste, as he was allowed to continue coaching the team because of Fana’s letter of recommendation, which made the judge a little merciful, even though he had failed the drug test.
It was up to Fezile and the boys to beat the local teams and qualify for the cup, and they finally did. The Sundowns were worried about the talent that Fezile possessed. They wanted him on their team and sent him a handsome offer, but Fezile didn’t reply. How could he have, after seeing Fana in the hospital, who had given his sweat and blood to resurrect the team after Masuli’s death? Now that his irresponsible biological father Buyile was also showing signs of progress, Fezile felt it behooved him to stay with the Queenstown Kings and defeat the wealthier and more experienced teams just by sheer practice and talent. The Sundowns made one last attempt to lure him, showing him all the glitz and glamor he would be part of if he joined the Sundowns, but ultimately his loyalty in him prevented him from taking the offer. All this happened without Buyile’s guidance, which proves that Fezile had a responsible head on his shoulders, and he had learned this from Fana. Who won the Nedbank Cup is not that important a question anymore. Football had brought Buyile back to his hometown, forcing him to prioritize his health, marriage, and relationship with Fezile. Fezile, too, had learned that if he was to become a great player, it wasn’t going to be through fame or wealth, but by being a better teammate. In Sundowns, he would have been another rowdy player, but here he had the chance to build a team and be a leader.
Surely, the Queenstown Kings would have won the hearts of the viewers, if not for the cup. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise if they won the cup, but the underlying message is clear: passion overrides everything. Buyile ruined himself while he was away from football, his one true passion, and Fezile was getting tied up in status games. Fana is expected to get better, and perhaps he would return to coach the team as Buyile would have to go away to take care of his young one as Boity was pregnant. The Queenstown Kings are destined for greatness, and carrying the legacy of the great Malusi forward, Fezile will surely become the greatest striker in the world.