Look to youth, Moon tells United

2010-09-06 00:00

AS the city gears up for the first big football match of the season — Maritzburg United against Kaizer Chiefs at the Harry Gwala stadium on Wednesday — a former star reminisced about the old days.

Patrick Moon started his professional football career aged 17, while still in high school, and went on to be the only player to become a coach and then a director of Maritzburg United FC.

Moon is now a city councillor.

The Witness spoke to Moon about his days as a striker for Maritzburg United and the challenges that they faced.

As a player for the Team of Choice, he said, “in our days there were three different football leagues namely NPSL, NFL and the Federation because of the apartheid system, which prohibited people of colour from playing in the same league as whites.”

Back then there was no money in the Federation and his monthly salary was R50

But that was not a problem, Moon said, as “we played more for the fun of the game than for money because we were very passionate about it”.

“A year after I had joined the professional league it was a time when NPSL and the Federation merged to form the NSL, because we realised that we can’t play a normal sport living in an abnormal society,” he said.

With a smile Moon said, “What excites me the most is that things I could not achieve or do because of the system then, I see my son (Bryce Moon) is achieving them.

“God has blessed me to be part of the full process.”

“When I look at Harry Gwala now, while I appreciate the development of the infrastructure I have so many fond memories of yesteryear when it Jan Smuts Stadium,” said Moon.

Moon said it is pleasing to see the stadium catering for everyone because back then it had a whites-only section where blacks were forbidden to sit.

He encouraged the local communities and businesses to get on board to support Maritzburg United when they play against the Soweto giants.

“It has taken the City of Choice a long time to get back to top- flight football and maybe we can learn a lot from the supporters of Bloemfontein Celtic,” he said.

Moon’s advice to United is to invest more in developing local youngsters so that there can be a fully fledged Maritzburg United side.

By going this route, he added, they will probably go a long way in mobilising local support for the team.

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