Footballers all anxious for Tovey

2015-02-26 00:00

BAFANA Bafana’s 1996 Africa Cup of Nations winning captain has looked after himself since his playing days came to an end, with regular golf and squash being part of his exercise regime.

It is came as a major shock then to friends and family when the 52-year-old suffered multiple heart attacks on Tuesday evening. He had complained of severe chest pain while playing a game of squash near his Mount ­Edgecombe home, and was quickly moved to an ­Umhlanga hospital where up until yesterday he remained in Intensive Care.

The news came just days after it was revealed that ­Tovey’s former team-mate John “Shoes” Moshoeu was fighting for his life at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg with an unknown illness.

Reports yesterday suggested that Tovey was stable and that he would move out of ICU in the next day or two, but the footballing community was clearly rocked by the news.

Tovey, who lives in Mount Edgecombe with his girlfriend Michelle Hansmeyer, played the last of his 52 matches for Bafana in 1997. He has since coached in the PSL with Mamelodi Sundowns, AmaZulu, Hellenic and Mpumalanga Black Aces.

But, more recently, he has been involved in corporate coaching while having carved a niche for himself as a television commentator.

“He always looked in good condition. He keeps himself in good nick and plays golf two or three times a week,” Tovey’s friend of nearly three decades, Richard Michael, told The Witness yesterday. “It definitely came as a ­surprise to everybody. The whole footballing community is very taken a back.”

Michael, who lives in Durban, used to play amateur football at Stella Football Club and it was in these circles where his relationship with Tovey grew.

“We never actually played together, I don’t think, but Neil was always so good to the amateurs when he was becoming a pro.

“I have always admired him and his career. I wish we could have more like him.”

AmaZulu general manager Peter O’Connor also ­expressed his dismay.

“Neil has been incredibly active all his life in football, squash and golf, so that’s a massive shock and you certainly don’t expect that of a person in his physical condition,” he said.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with him.”

Tovey is divorced, and his children are living in ­Johannesburg.

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