Milestone: Sastri football club looks back on 50 years

2011-04-21 00:00

THEY may be too old to play football, but Nithiya Naidoo and Neethia Pillay fondly remember their passion for the game 50 years after they established Sastri United FC.

The club has participated in all the annual Easter tournaments of the Pietermaritzburg and District Asoccer Association, and the pair have been friends and members Sastri United since they were teens during the days of the notorious Group Areas Act, which led to their eviction from the Sastri Square in downtown Pietermaritzburg in 1969.

Naidoo, the chairperson of Sastri United, said it has been a milestone to reach the 50th anniversary of the team, and they are looking forward to participating in the Easter tournament this weekend because it is an important pre-season competition that they always enjoy.

“The tournament provides a platform for players to compete with some of the most talented football players who come from all over the country to participate,” he said.

Naidoo said that when the team was established nobody thought that it could survive for so many years. “We were positive that we would survive this long and today Sastri is a household name synonymous with football,” he said.

Naidoo said their main focus was sports development for under-privileged youngsters.

“Most of our players come from the disadvantaged communities of Mpumuza and Ashdown. We strongly believe that sports development breeds healthy minds, which leads to creating healthy communities.”

He said they also instil the importance of family values.

The pair said their main challenge is finances and they have for the past 50 years relied on donations, fundraising activities and sponsorships.

Naidoo and Pillay said they have seen a lot of changes in the game, but they would still like to see more people coming in their numbers to cheer the boys. Pillay, the club’s honorary life vice-president, said, “Fifty years is not an easy thing to achieve, but through commitment, dedication and support from the community we have been able to achieve the milestone.”

Sastri United FC will celebrate its 50th anniversary on 7 May at Truro Hall. Call Naidoo at 072 687 8212 or Pillay at 078 322 5348 for details.

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