2015-08-06 06:00

I AM the luckiest person or scribe in local sport circles. This is because I grew up in the Greater Edendale area, around Fishing Road to be precise, and later in Eastwood, in Back Street.

Edendale was one of the outstanding democratic areas around Pietermaritzburg. We were blessed to have all racial groups and religions aroundy.

Surnames such as the Maharaj, Chetty, Hammond, Johnson, Christian, Ismael, Kothe, Brown, Naidoo, Mkhize, Zondi, Pitout, Petersen, Msimang, Hlope, Zulu, Govender, Swayiba, Dolphin, Dlamini, Nhloko, Dladla, Nyanisa, Mthembu, Terry, Jacob and Sibiya were popular and common in the area.

Also, the majority of these families produced great players, politicians and soccer clubs that made Edendale proud.

Families and children socialised and played together.

We had a lot of teams - Georgetown Pirates, Special XI, Benfica, Machibisa Fast XI, Siyamu United Brothers (Subs), Edendale Golden Arrows, Blue Flames, Caluza Aces, Mbubu Rocks, Henley United Brothers, KwaNgubeni Aces, Sanzwill Swallows, and others.

All these teams displayed a new democratic South Africa 35 years ago. Even professional sides such as Sobantu Shooting Stars, Sobantu Manchester, Maritzburg City and Maritzburg United were the same as the lower clubs. They recruited players from all over Maritzburg and irrespective of colour, creed, race or religion.

Although I was young in the early seventies, I was eager to watch most of these teams at Wadley Stadium.

This was the same venue where I had a chance to watch local quality and talented players such as Sipho “Killer” Sibiya, Elvis Mpofu, Darile Msimang, Mzobe Msimang, Pat Mbanjwa, Skuta Mkhize, KK Majola, Bheki Mlangeni Ntso Khanyi, Mahewu Mlaba, Chistano Mlilwa, Kaizer Msimang, Rocky Ford, Yinde Magasela and Shukela Made.

Also, semi and professional sides such as Maritzburg United, Maritzburg City and Sobantu Manchester, Swift Swallows and Charlton Athletics (CA) produced a lot of household names. It was during that era that I had a chance to see the late Alfred Bomber Chamane from Sobantu when he played for his township outfit. “Mata” as he was commonly called by his teammates and colleagues, was buried­ last weekend.

His death was another huge loss in the football fraternity. The softly spoken young lad started his early career in Maritzburg City colours in the old South African Soccer League (SASL) in the early sixties. Chamane graced the field as an old-fashioned striker and was nicknamed “Bomber” because of his deadly power-packed shots, scoring goals from outside the 18-yard box with ease.

Moses Ally, who mentored Chamane­, always spoke highly of him for his dedication to non-racial soccer. The well-liked Bomber was a popular figure at Northdale Stadium on a Sunday afternoon.

He also played for Maritzburg United, African Wanderers and Manchester United. Sobantu and the Greater PMB area have lost one of its greatest legends. Rest in peace Bomber. RIP Mata

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