To unsung hero Gigi, we say Hamba Kahle

2017-10-05 06:01
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I want to pay tribute to the life and wonderful times we shared with the one and only Gigi, as he was fondly known.

We say goodbye to a gallant and dedicated footballer, a community builder and the best soccer scout we’ve ever had among us.

Though not fully recognized for his work among the many talented youngsters he groomed and prepared, it is a well-known factor that some youngsters now playing offshore and in the country, are a product of his prowess.

At a memorial service held in his honour in Gugulethu on Tuesday, several speakers relived his work.

As youngster, he started out playing for Cape Town Pirates in the goalposts, and for lack of greener pastures, rather stayed put. As goalkeeper, I have great memories of him seemingly so ubiquitous under the posts that coming face to face with him to score, a player had to choose their scoring spot carefully.

Gigi Ntlebi was heavily built and could close all the angles, thus depriving an opponent scoring chances.

After his playing days, he started coaching youngsters, and this is where he spent most of his time.

His coaching straddles across many football clubs, beginning with CT Pirates, in both the juniors and the ladies team, ASD, Hellenic FC, CT All Stars and JL Zwane.

He could unearth talent from players whose abilities have not been discovered.

Through his love for people he developed many associations with people at all levels. From youngsters to older people. A joker and a person who was peace loving. The soccer fraternity has lost a friend, a player and a father figure to the young.

Farewell to Mgqwashu, Gxiya, from all of us in the soccer fraternity.

Your work here on earth has been accomplished, rest well amongst some of the many sporting legends who have gone before you. Pass our greetings to them, and say till we meet again.

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