Northern KZN forms soccer legends branch

2014-09-10 00:00

NORTHERN KwaZulu-Natal, which includes Pietermaritzburg, is the latest area to form a branch of the historic non-racial South African Federation Soccer Legends (SAFSL).

The Eastern Cape will be forming a branch soon — giving the organisation a national presence. There are already branches in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

Bryan Rupram, chairperson of the Northern KZN SAFSL, explained the significance of the growth of the organisation.

He said that although the federation ran a professional league during the apartheid era, there was little money. Players and administrators remained with the federation, taking a principled stand to fight for non-racialism in sportm despite the fact that there was little financial gain.

This resulted in former players and administrators struggling financially later in life and families battling alone to help those who became sick or where injured.

Rupram said right from the start “Legends” had formed a Trust to support former players. A number of initiatives had seen the organisation help families as well as provide wheelchairs and other medical assistance to former players.

The aim of the organisation was also to give back to communities and SAFSL will be facilitating coaching clinics in the spirit of non-racial football.

He added that they would like to form an academy and engage with schools and other organisations. The goal was to identify players who go unnoticed and to unearth the hidden soccer talent in Northern KZN.

The Legends locally have their base at Collegians Club.

This is the home of the previous all-white Savages Football Club and one of the oldest football clubs in the country.

“Barriers are being broken and the aim is to move towards the ideals we fought for — non-racial sport,” said Rupram.

Savages chairperson Ben Hartshorne welcomed the Legends. Rupram said there would be a link with the city’s own professional club Maritzburg United as well.

Maritzburg United Football Club was formed in 1981 within the ambit of the non-racial South African Soccer Federation’s professional league. The chairperson, Farook Kadodia, said that the club’s early stance on non-racial sport continues today as their commitment to nation building. “Our supporters come from communities across the city,” he said.

Former Maritzburg United Captain Krish Naidoo is Rupram’s deputy chairperson, along with Morgan Pillay. Logan Govender was elected secretary and Mervyn Whiteman as treasurer. Board members include Ravi Pillay, Harry de la Cruz, Roy Harry, Shaun Donnelly, Lionel Mabas, Jasper Vurdan and Don Mudlay.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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