The oldest surviving football club on the African continent will turn 135 this year and their roots have been firmly planted in this city from day one.
With plans in place to celebrate the milestone in August, the club have announced that they will be officially inducted by the association for the oldest continuing football clubs in the world, the Club of Pioneers, at the event.
Savages Football Club were formed on August 26, 1882, when they played their debut match against Hilton College. The game saw a 3-1 score in favour of the Savages.
History tells us that the club were formed by members of the English and Welsh troops who were stationed in Pietermaritzburg at the time.
Club custodian Benjamin Hartshorne said an invitation to join the association of the oldest football clubs per country in the world is an extremely rare honour.
“The association will be sending two delegates to pronounce this honour to us in August.
“We would be the only club in the country and the African continent to be inducted. Another club in New Zealand will receive the same honour this year.
“It is sort of the wall of fame of oldest clubs,” said Hartshorne.
“Nobody has ever disputed that [we are the oldest club in Africa]. There were many clubs that were around during that era but we managed to survive and kept our history intact for 135 years.”
Hartshorne said one of the finest players to have honed his football talent at the club was Brett Evans. Evans was a founding member of Ajax Cape Town and played for Ajax for the whole of his 13-year career.
Hartshorne believes many other players who are currently playing in the PSL might have developed their careers at the club.
Known by its traditional black and white colours, the club won their first trophy, the National Football Association Challenge Cup, in 1893, and repeated the feat in 1993 — a century later.
Although currently not competing in mainstream competitions, the club have since survived the odds and are currently focused on developing aspiring young footballers.
In August this year, they preparing to host their 135th anniversary match, which will coincide with the date of the first match ever played by the club.
After World War 2, the club nearly disbanded as they could only produce an under-16 side, which only consisted of 12 players.
Hartshorne said the club are currently registering junior players and are hoping to sign up 250 of them. He said the club also needs more senior players.