Local football club celebrates 50th anniversary

2011-02-15 00:00

A GROUP of neighbours who got together some 50 years ago to form the Sastri United Football Club, which later became Sastri United Sporting, catering for all codes of sport, are ready to celebrate their 50th year.

At the launch of the celebrations, a time capsule that was packed away at their 25th anniversary celebration was opened at the Newholmes Hotel this week.

Among the memorabilia unpacked were newspaper cuttings and two bottles of brandy bought for R8,08 in 1986 and now selling for around R100.

Sastri Square is a village of 50 red-brick houses at the bottom end of Greyling and Boom streets, named after Indian governor-general Sir Strivasan Sastri.

The Group Areas Act came into force in 1968 and residents were forced to move to Northdale and other areas in the northern suburbs, only seven years after the club was formed, but the move did not deter the members.

Nithia “Tattoo” Pillay (65) was a foundation secretary and first captain of the club. He recalls that “the idea of forming a football club was first born in the hearts and minds of the youth that lived in the Sastri Square in 1960”.

“The youth rallied the elders and informal discussions took place to form the Sastri United Soccer Club so that they could be involved in some sporting activity instead of going astray.

“The inaugural meeting took place at the home of the first chairperson, the late Joe Govender. I was elected as secretary and Poorun Naidoo was elected to look after the purse strings,” says Pillay.

Big German Rahiman was the first manager.

“Non-racialism in sport was our only goal,” he adds.

Another stalwart was Nithia Naidoo (62), who became a professional football player when he made his debut for SASL professional club Lincoln City.

Naidoo said: “We have survived 50 years, despite being separated at a very early stage. I can only praise the members who steered the club since 1961. The founders were the preachers and practised the principles of non-racialism in sport, which is the policy of the South African Soccer Federation, our parent national body. The present generation upholds that policy very strongly.”

Celebration activities will be publicised later.

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