SPORTING Club Real Celtic commemorated their illustrious 33-year anniversary at a glittering ceremony at the Darnall Country Club on Saturday.
Well-known sports administrator, Isaac Abraham took the past and present officials, players and guests down memory lane highlighting the 33-year history of the club.
Abraham said: “Retired warrant officer D. Moodley set the ball rolling in the formation of Celtic in 1983 to give the policeman an opportunity to play soccer on a social level before engaging in games with other police stations and NGOs.
“Two years later they sought affiliation to the Lower Tugela Soccer Federation and immediately made their mark in the competitive ranks, winning the league and numerous knockout competitions.
“In 1994 South Africa enjoyed its first democratic elections with the late Nelson Mandela appointed President of our country. In the same year, Suren Bissessur was elected president of the club and he still spearheads Sporting Club Real Celtic.”
Abraham heaped praise upon Bissessur for guiding the club through turbulent times and more especially when the club lacked sponsorship and funding with players and officials digging into their own pockets to keep the club alive. Abraham highlighted the club’s tour to the Eastern Cape and Cape Town in 1999.
Celtic kicked off their tour against a selected Eastern Cape SAPS outfit and emerged 3-1 winners. It was a baptism of fire against the Western Cape SAPS outfit for the Celtic lads, who lost 3-1 but bounced back to winning days the following day with the 3-1 win against the Western Cape Telkom side.
The cherry on the top for the Celtic outfit was gaining vengeance against the Western Cape SAPS outfit and returning the favour with a resounding 4-1 win.
President of the club, Bissessur said: “Over the years we have seen successful clubs participate in our leagues and then disappear beyond the horizons never to be heard again, but the fact that Real Celtic has lived on for over three decades is testimony to the DNA of the club from the people who founded Celtic years ago into those who manage it today.
“SAPS Football Club sought affiliation to the Lower Tugela Soccer Federation in 1985 but their affiliation was rejected because the formation of anti-apartheid movements heightened and SAPS were seen as the enemy and thus we had to change our name to Sporting Club Real Celtic to have any hope of playing football.
“I am proud to say that today Celtic participates in the SAFA SAB Regional League and finished runners-up in the 2014/2015 season. I am optimistic that that in years to come this team will be able to compete all the way for a spot in the lucrative Vodacom League which effectively is the third tier of professional football in our country.
“In winning the league and gaining cup honours I’ve had the distinct pleasure of associating with some of Stanger’s finest footballing talents and administrators, Yunus Moorad, Sam Moonsamy, Andrew Athymoolan, Fishy Naidoo, the late Bheki Dlamini, Sagie Naidoo, the late Solly Khan and Haroon Mohammedy.”
He paid tribute to the founder members of Real Celtic, namely D. Moodley, the late Deva Naidu, the late Benji Maduray, Leon van Rooyen, H. Badul, Dejay Maharaj and D. Mathura for having the vision to see the need for sport within SAPS and recognising the concept that a healthy body and mind impacts favourably on an employee’s work ethics.
Guest of honour at the anniversary, Harron Mohammedy said: “The existence of a public body for a period of 30 years is certainly cause for much jubilation and I take pleasure in extending my heartiest congratulations.
“In addition to your players having excelled in various levels, with your current president, Suren Bissessur turning out in the colours of Stanger United in the professional ranks.
“Fishy Naidoo reached the pinnacle of his administrative career by being recognised as the a referee of the highest calibre.”