February 18, 2010

Viva CAF, Viva South African Soccer Federation, and UP the Bells…

Filed under: sports,testimonies — newritings @ 12:03 pm

At this historic time of the 2010 World Cup, pause a moment and remember all those who made it possible. The unsung heroes and heroines of the non-racial sports movement. Here we focus on football and mainly the Federation Professional League (FPL) of  the  South African Soccer Federation. At that time in our areas, organised football, was largely a male game. This is being  addressed, slowly, in SA and worldwide…

(This post has been updated, adding in some names of the non-racial football greats)

Viva CAF! Viva SASF and UP the Bells

Hassen Lorgat

Some of you may not know what the Fed was, but it was the Mainstay of non racial football, to take the name of one of its  longest “big” sponsors. They were truly the liberation fighters using the football and, sadly, now forgotten at our highest point of foot-balling excellence. The short term memories of some of our elites are staggering, as many of them seem to  have forgotten the mammoth contribution that Black players made in denying themselves the chance to play at the highest level of their game. Their tool? The total isolation of apartheid sports, and football was to be kicked about.

And during those years of gallant struggles, when days were dark and friends were few, Bluebells United FC stood up and was counted. We cramped the local stadium to watch local derbies between Bells and Swaraj and Bells and Dynamos, and in the process learnt about the politics of boycott and not collaboration with the enemy. Yes, the language was eerily cold war-ish. We spoke of players that “defected” to play with the racist leagues and we fought hard to isolate them personally,  and politically. Not all the tactics and strategies were conducive to building the non racialism we espoused but most of it was. The poets recognized it and so did some in FIFA although, as you will see in this essay, its leadership was part of the problem in getting a speedy and equitable solution to the sports problems of South Africa.

The bard of liberation Omar Mattera wrote To the Bells…

Ring out the challenge my valiant brothers

Ring out the cry of the oppressed and the down-trodden

You that must suffer for great and pure principles

The Bells, ringing against discrimination in sport

Tell the Whiteman you are his equal, if not better

The trumpets sounding in the distant

Light of invincibility, against the darkness of Apartheid,

So ring out the message loud and clear

Man was not born to live in fear

Ring Bells, and be proud of your heritage

Your name inscribed in Freedoms page

This poem was written after the non racial football movement fought to get playing fields in white ruled Johannesburg city council where its officials doubled up as members –if not agents of Apartheid supporting Football Association of South Africa (FASA).

FIFA in contrast to their bland history of SA football, written as part of the Countdown to the  2010 World Cup in South Afirica, which I will briefly reflect on below comment:

– Racial integration in football has always been a source of pride with the sport helping to break the apartheid barriers, albeit in a slow process. But the Inter Racial Soccer Board organised representative matches from 1946. In the Natal province, the Indian, African and Coloured FA’s competed for the Singh Trophy. In the old Transvaal province, it was the Rev. Sigamoney Trophy.

– The South African Soccer Federation, which led the campaign against segregated sport and received its first major boost in Paris in 1955 when the International Olympic Committee acknowledged and recorded that discrimination against “non-white” sportspeople in South Africa existed.

– In 1971, the National Professional Soccer League came into existence with Orlando Pirates crowned as the first national champions. Today the professional league has changed its name to the Premier Soccer League and there is still a sprinkling of clubs from the first league in 1971 playing in the top flight.

FIFA then fast forwards to the formation of the South African Football Association on 8 December 1991, which it says marks the “culmination of a long unity process that was to rid the sport in South Africa of all its past racial division.” Thereafter it goes on to give the miracle interpretation of reading South African history by providing this linear narrative of how SAFA attending CAF Congress and eventually winning SA re-entry into FIFA on June 1992.

The highpoint of the South African football winning the 1996 African Nations Cup

One has to go to another section on the Fifa site to get some version of our struggle against racist oppression and exploitation. In From apartheid to the World Cup – four decades in the sporting life of South Africa (written in 2004), at least they  talk of the suspension of the white football body, from FIFA, at the Tokyo Congress of the organization in 1964. They proudly point out that “FIFA were among the first international sporting organisations to take action against apartheid in sport policies and insist on the eradication of racist regulations.” It was only at the Montreal Congress in 1976 after the election of Brazilian Joao Havelange that the suspension was strengthened to expulsion as those who thought SA would change had lost their battle and racist SA was expelled from the organization. The FIFA comment is incisive as it clearly pointed out that, with the world pressure after mobilizations of the masses and the eventual killing of hundreds of youth in 1976, culminating in June 76, FIFA had no choice but to expel SA. The SASF gets this mention, when Fifa writes:

“The dispute over the country’s status within FIFA began as far back as 1952 when the affiliation of the whites-only Football Association of South Africa (FASA) was questioned by an inter-racial body of black, coloured (mixed race) and Indian associations, who had formed an alternative body to run soccer in South Africa at the time.

They were called the South African Soccer Federation (SASF) and repeatedly asked FIFA to recognise their existence and to grant them affiliation. At the same time, they consistently requested that FIFA terminate the affiliation of FASA because it practiced racial discrimination.

FASA refused to merge with the SASF, arguing it was against the laws and custom of the country to do so. Instead, they proposed the federation join as an affiliate without any voting rights. FIFA sought to try and engineer some unity in November, 1954 and following the failure of that bid set about the process of forcing South African football to end its racist policies.” (We will discuss these views later, suffice it to say that it is a lie. FIFA was  an obstacle to unity and I will show how football greats of the oppressed participated in the South African Soccer League, where greats like Dharam Mohan, Bernard Hartze, Rashid Khan, etc.  were destroyed by the control of the local authorities over sports facilities which in effect ostracized those that played within the values of freedom. Then the greats of SA football, Pirates , Moroka Swallows (Big xv) , Real Fighters and Blackpool could no longer play in the league – thus leaving the SASL only with affiliates from Durban, Pietermaritzburg and one  team from Cape town remaining in the professional league. Their struggles need to be  remembered.)

One thing is clear: that CAF (Confederation of African Football) was more principled than the world body and they booted FASA out of African football in 1960 – a body it helped to found, whilst the world body prevaricated for a few more years before the eventual expulsion.  Many oppressed people regarded Sir Stanley Rous, a conservative person and most importantly the FIFA president from 1961 to 1974, as an apologist for Apartheid and the SASF had been consistently at logger heads with him. It is widely recorded that Rous fought – in the face of African opposition (CAF) – for the readmittance of SA to FIFA in 1963. In their extraordinary meeting, CAF resolved to work for the total expulsion of FASA in the Tokyo world congress in 1964, because of the “damnable Apartheid policy” that the football association practiced. Despite the reluctance of FIFA to countenance expulsion of South African football from FIFA, the motion was put, thanks to the growing body of solidarity, amongst African, Asians and Soviet bloc countries, as well as the Arab nations. Globally the anti apartheid movement succeeded in expelling SA from the Olympic movement, putting pressure on FIFA very directly.

In its various correspondence to FIFA, SASF made it clear that they objected to Sir Stanley Rous collaboration with racist FASA and its key personalities. (It is worth noting that as soon as  FIFA expelled South Africa from the world body, the new body Football Council of South Africa chaired by reknown sellout  George Thabe, who ran the NPSL, was formed.)

A very informative article published in the Sports Historian No. 21 (1) by Marc Keech, THE TIES THAT BIND: SOUTH AFRICA AND SPORTS DIPLOMACY 1958-1963, details the treachery of FIFA boss Sir Stanley Rous when he backed white SA  over Black Africa. However, the campaign to isolate racist SA was gaining momentum but the internation sporting  institutions (and others too!) at that time were mostly controlled by European administrators and officials and in some cases under US hegemony. They had to power to undermine democratic decisions as we will  show.

When FIFA decided to first suspend white SA from its fold, Marc Keech shows that:

– its president Sir Rous did, his utmost to try to reinstate them.

– Sir Rous  listened to a suggestion which may sound stupid today , but which he  quietly sanctioned , to have a whites only team play in the 1966 World Cup in England

– to reinstate SA into world fooball,  Apartheid South Africa´s allies plotted that,at the Santiago Congress  of FIFA in 1962, to vote for the setting up of a  FIFA commission to investigate the problems of football in South Africa.   Sir Stanley Rous and Jimmy McGuire of the USA were to constitute the mission with the mandate “to ascertain whether FASA was in anyway responsible for (other) associations and clubs not becoming members of that association (FASA).”

Maggie and Stan

It is here that Keech brings about what is often ignored when he writes that “SASF attempted to challenge Rous’s membership of the committee. SASF most urgently request recusal of yourself from the proposed FIFA Commission on grounds that you are deeply committed, by statements from within FASA,, to lifting the suspension of FASA. Some examples of these statements include:

a) Mr. Fell (at the Annual General Meeting of FASA) stressing ‘he had no doubt that Sir Stanley would have the suspension lifted.’

b) that delegates at the AGM of FASA revealed to the press that FASA and Sir Stanley have been in correspondence with each other and that FASA has been advised by Sir Stanley on the lines and policies they must take to have the suspension lifted.

c) Sir Stanley Rous, probably the most powerful man in world soccer, is determined to keep South Africa in FIFA.

SASF suggests that if Sir Stanley insists on coming as commissioner our federation would have lost faith and confidence in the commission and that the confidence which the non-whites in this country have reposed in FIFA for their emancipation from racial oppression would have been shattered.”

When the so-called mission arrived to the country in January 1963, SASF officials were treated shabbily and were not allowed to prepare properly, whilst FASA were being treated as super favourites. Keech writes that it “was reported that Rous had said that no provision in the FIFA constitution required its members to apply the principle of multi-racialism: if South Africa applied segregation in soccer, that was its concern. He stated that ‘All we are interested in is to see the controlling body of soccer in this country furthering the cause of football to the best of its ability’.”

Despite the marginalization of SASF, they put up a good show at the Missions meeting pointing out in terms of the commissions terms of reference, that SASF “represented 46,000 players whereas FASA and its affiliates represented only 20,000. SASF asked the commission to recall that FIFA had previously criticised the way FASA ran football in the Republic. The letter to which they referred followed the previous commission some seven years earlier. It stated that FASA did not comprise and control all clubs and players in South Africa, and that FASA did not have the standing of a National Federation required to govern and develop football in accordance with the structure of the population.”

The African National Congress, the ruling party in South Africa today, echoed these sentiments in their 1971 Report to the United Nations – as part of the campaign to isolate white South Africa in sports and culture. It repeats what is said above, but I quote in full to show that what the double dealing of FIFA leadership was well’ known. The ANC narrated the history of resistance thus: “By 1955 the non-racial South African Soccer Federation had made representations to the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA). It was pointed out that the non-racial body had more than twice the membership of the white body, the Football Association of South Africa (FASA). Because of the large number of friends of the all-white Association who held influence in FIFA, it was not until 1961 that FASA was first suspended. But this led to even more concerted efforts on the part of these friends to reinstate the offending member. The device chosen was to send a FIFA commission to investigate the situation in South Africa. Sir Stanley Rous of Britain, President of FIFA, and Mr. James McGuire of the United States constituted the mission. During their visit to South Africa in January 1963, the Johannesburg Star of January 9, 1963, reported Sir Stanley as having said that no provision in the FIFA constitution required its members to apply the principle of multi-racialism: if South Africa applied segregation in soccer that was its concern.

“All we are interested in is to see the controlling body of soccer in this country furthering the cause of football to the best of its ability.”

The commitment of Sir Stanley Rous to keeping FASA as a full member of FIFA, despite its colour-bar, was also evident in the lengthy correspondence between him and the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, which called for the exclusion of the racialist body from international football.

The report to FIFA recommended the reinstatement of the racial body and this was done in 1963. This decision met with widespread opposition in Afro-Asian countries with the result that the suspension was reimposed at the 1964 Tokyo congress of FIFA. In retaliation the South African Government imposed banning orders, including 12-hour-a-day house arrest, on Mr. George Singh of the non-racial Soccer Federation.

This brief account of developments in the field of soccer reveals a pattern of behaviour which was repeated in other battles to eliminate racialism from sport. In most cases the most important and senior officials of international bodies worked desperately to maintain the status quo and retain the all-white bodies as full members. The South African racialist organisations were, therefore, very well placed to receive high level advice about ways of retaining membership, as well as support for their position.”

I have quoted the ANC faithfully and  fully because it leaves me baffled why, with all this recorded history available and with non racial rule attained in South Africa, we choose to ignore those that did battle in the sportsfields?

I think that the partial reading of history in the earlier section could easily lead a casual reader to distort the contribution of thousands of sport people as it does not fully affirm those members of the Federation such as like Bluebells, Santos, Dynamos, Swaraj, Glanville, Manning Rangers, Verulum Suburbs, Cape Town Spurs, Maritzburg United, and many others that remain unsung and lost out at becoming Peles and Maradona’s. It does not recognize the fight led by SACOS and SANROC, by the likes of Hassan Howa, Frank Van der Horst, Colin Clarke, Morgan Naidoo, Sam Ramsammy, Dan Qeqe, Dan Thwala, Reg Feldman, Dennis Brutus, George Singh, MN Pather, Ashwin Trikamjee and many many more.

It would be good for FIFA to rewrite the history of SA football before the World Cup 2010  in South Africa to include the contribution of those that struggled to isolate racist South Africa, and not only glorify those INVICTUS movie moments. If FIFA’s files do not reflect these struggles, our files do, as do our minds and hearts. Players and supporters of non racial sport cry out for recognition and affirmation.

In 1974 to the tournament that Bluebells were holding, FIFA General Secretary  Dr Dr Helmut KÄSER (SUI) (period of GS of FIFA 1961-1981 – and himself  not always a friend of non racialism in sport too) wrote (3 may)  that “It is understood that the tournament is being staged to recoup the losses suffered as a result of promoting Professional Football in a no racial basis. This is highly commendable and we sincerely hope that the citizens of the Transvaal assist them in doing just that.

We are quite aware of the gallant fight with which these young men are putting up… FIFA greatly admires such young me who dedicate themselves for the sake of sport.”

KÄSER wrote that he hoped that the “splendid example” will inspire other soccer bodies to “follow this progressive and constructive step” which he hoped in the near future will lead to the “discarding any racial label, so that your doors are open to all South Africans, regardless of race, colour or creed.”

The year 1974 was also significant for other reasons – globally in sports as it marked the new era of non racial sport internationally, which unfortunately in later years with mass television of sports and the iniquitous globalization, and crass selling of players, exploiting of fans and accumulation of big bucks in sports -for a few. Havelange in replacing Rous in 1974, marked the end of European control of the game, (Rous was backed mainly by the European associations) as he was the first person from a developing country that took the highest office in football. History records that there was a record attendance at the at the Ordinary Congress in Frankfurt, prior to the 74 World Cup ,by poor countries and those who could not attend for various reasons including costs of travel etc. The voting (first round) Havelange obtained 62 votes, Rous 56, with a two-thirds majority (79 votes) being necessary to becoming president. In the second round Havelange got the necessary two –thirds when he polled 68:52, which made him president. Rous was elected a lifetime honorary president.

Without national media support, or should I say despite anti media coverage in the main – the movement led by the South African Council on Sports, SACOS (internally) and the South African Non Racial Olympic Committee  (SANROC) , (largely in exile) which was ,supported by liberation movement outside the country in particular the African National Congress SA was culturally  isolated.

Bells management and leadership too played a critical role. Vincent Govindarajinh Naidoo, a visionary and friends and critics agree a dreamer too, but for him Bells to become, like the FC Barcelona of today’, …mes que un club. More than a club. He fought to have professional football played in the then Transvaal and led the fight against the local authorities bringing in the likes of Selma Browde into our fold. It was with her assistance that non racial football eventually won access to the Lenasia stadium, to play the beautiful game without compromises to principles of human rights and equality.

He fought and continues to fight  the good fight, and set up even a Bluebells international. City Councillor and Dr Selma Browde writing in the 1974 brochure recognized Bells for being the “only club prepared to make sacrifices to take up the fight to revive non-racial professional football in the province. They suffered serious financial losses for the sake of the game.” She added that “if they had taken the simple way and ginen in to the sports policy of the City Council and toed the FASA line, they could have been much better off financially, but they held on courageously for the brand of soccer that only Federation is producing, and soccer has benefited. The proof that Federation can definitely provide top class soccer lies in the fact that every organization apart from the Africans now belong to the Federation.” (The fact is that most of the African players were playing in what was then called the racial leagues  in line with government policy. The weakness to get greater numbers of the players to to join the non racial fold was a great weakness to the struggle for nonracial sports.) History must record that Dave Marais and Viv Granger (with a little help from some within FIFA) were hell-bent on destroying SASL because of the non-racial campaign to isolate white football and to make it the official recognized football body of SA.  Terry Jeevanantham footballer and commentator on football, says that the “great A great Orlando Pirates team that included Rashid Khan , Ralph Hendricks , Bernard Hartze was dismantled because Bethuel Morolo wanted them out and have an Africans only league .

Dr Ram Saloojee, who was to become a prominent ANC, then using the platform of the Lenasia Management committee, speaks of the councils denial of the football grounds as being based on “ a denial basedon the false values of racial exclusion and colour prejudices” (Bells brochure 1974). He called on the public to support the courage of “our beleaurered sportsmen and to leand our moral and material strength to their desire to play the game, in the spirit of the loftiest traditions of the sporting code.”

The founder member of the South African Soccer Federation – Dan R Twala, wrote in the brochure of how politics of exclusion stopped “our boys “ from “donning the SPRINGBOK COLOURS for south Africa in the International Sporting fields vying for kudos and professional recognition with the PELES, and the EUSEBIOS OF world soccer fame.”

Ameen Akhalwaya – human rights activists and journalist loved Bells and spared no time and space to give them space in his Daily Mail and eventually when he founded his own paper, where he wrote about Bells nostalgically. Today the Lenz Times – founded by Waheed Camroodien remains a stalwart support of the Bells years and its attempted revival.

Jayprakash Zanof Ramdin (vice president ), Roland James, Rodney Moonsammy, Derek Moonsammy, Billy Morgan, yousuf Eshack,  Patrick Naiker, Silvyn Naidoo,NN Naidoo, G Saley, V Moodley, Bizza Naidoo, Vela “vandemaderam” Padiachee, Abu Mia, S Bhaga, AC Fakir, R Pillay, R Fakira and numerous others still to be acknowleged. (Please write in and fill in the blanks).

Players from the cradle of Bells heart – Lenz -we cannot forget are they likes of Terry Jeevanantham, Alan Moonsammy, Agmat Mohammad, Prega Thandrind, Ratin Padiachee, Louis Jeevanantham, Goona Padayatchi, farouk hassen, with old favourites from outside Lenz, Voes, Phil Mthimkulu, Doza, Trompies, Ralph Chame, Grooving Malope, Augustine makalakalane (now coach of banyana banyana, Big boy Kholoane, and others.

blue bells picBells and other FPL and SASF stars would not have shone if it was not for the worthy adversaries like Tobie Hatia (Dynamos), Ingel singh and Vincent tantie Julius (Sundowns); Deena Naidoo, Dougie Carelse . The talent from the Cape teams knew no end,  Gauteng export Rashid Khan, Boebie Williams, Boebie Solomons, Siraj Desai,  Neville Londt, Bernard dancing shoes Hartz (Capetown Spurs, Capetown united), Dudu moonsammy, Kola and Virgin Padiachee, and Shakes Mashaba (Swaraj), Kishore Kara, Burri Martin, and many many more. The stars before yesteryear, which was always a memory for young Fed Fans but we heard their names…Excellent Mthembu, Dharam Mohan, Sugar Singh, Cedric “Sugar Ray” Xulu  who were crowd pullers. Players of such skill and popularity must live today in the year of the African World Cup.

Administrators that fought for Bells and non racialism in this period include the likes of MN Pather, JN Bhoola, Hassen Howa,  RK Naidoo, and Ameen Akhalwaya, Butch Ralph Hendricks, Ivan Naidoo, DR Soma and many others.

Bluebells United Supporters Club during that time was led by A Fakir (chair) and Linda Moonsammy (secretary)  who campaigned under the slogan “UP The Bells” and to make the Lenasia stadium “the Mecca of Soccer”.


It would be fitting for these known and unknown hero’s of the struggle for normal sport in an normal society be acknowleged. We know our society with gnawing poverty and inequality is not equal and this is abnormal, but, the small victory of those who fought for human dignity in sports and culture – using it as a lever to change society is what the 2010 world cup is supposed to be. But is it?

If you remember those who played the good fight, please add their names and we will update them in the hall of non racial sports struggle fame – and as in this case those that played the beautiful game-ethically.

To check the South African History Timeline on soccer, read more.


For those with short memories of our long struggle for the right to play sports with dignity and equality I advise a short visit to the South African history timeline, on SA soccer. They have some gems for both the aficionados and the uninitiated and its worth a visit. I have selected some for ease of reference


The first documented football matches in South Africa are played in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth (between White civil servants and soldiers).


African and Indian soccer clubs are active in Durban and Johannesburg


The Whites-only South African Football Association (later known as FASA) is formed.


The South African African Football Association (SAAFA) is formed and it launches the Bakers Cup national tournament.


The Transvaal Inter-Race Soccer Board is formed by Africans, Indians, and Coloureds.

The Suzman Cup, the first official inter-racial tournament between Africans, Coloureds, and Indians, is established.


SAAFA (South African African Football Association), SAIFA (South African Indian Football Association) and SACFA (South African Coloured Football Association) form the anti-apartheid South African Soccer Federation (SASF).


The South African Football Association (SAFA) (representing Whites) is admitted to Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA).


Minister of the Interior, T. E. Donges, articulates the first apartheid sport policy.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) changes its name to the Football Association of Southern Africa (FASA) and, due to pressure from FIFA, deletes the racist exclusionary clause from its constitution.

Stephen “Kalamazoo” Mokone and David Julius become the first Black South Africans to sign professional contracts in Europe, with Cardiff City and Sporting Lisbon respectively.


The South African Bantu Football Association (SABFA) affiliates with the Football Association of Southern Africa (FASA).

Darius Dhlomo joins Stephen Mokone at Heracles in the Dutch professional league.

The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) officially recognises the Football Association of South Africa (FASA) as the sole governing body of soccer in South Africa


The National Football League (NFL) is launched as the country’s first entirely professional club league. It is reserved for Whites.


The Confederation of African Football (CAF) expels South Africa.

South African Women’s football starts.


FIFA suspends the Football Association of South Africa (FASA).

FASA includes some Black players within its structure. African, Indian, and Coloured officials in the anti-apartheid South African Soccer Federation (SASF) form the anti-racist professional South African Soccer League (SASL). SABFA (the South African Bantu Football Association) launches a National Professional Soccer League (NPSL), which shuts down the following year.


The FIFA executive lifts the Football Association of South Africa’s (FASA) suspension. FASA announces it will send an all-White team to the 1966 World Cup, and an all-Black team to the 1970 World Cup. FIFA president Stanley Rous gets FASA temporarily reinstated in 1963, but FASA is again suspended in 1964. It is expelled from FIFA in 1976.


FASA’s (Football Association of South Africa) suspension is re-imposed by the FIFA Congress. The Federation leadership is persecuted, arrested, or banned.

Avalon Athletic win the SASL (South African Soccer League) double (League and Cup titles). Eric “Scara” Sono dies in a car crash at the age of 27.


Moroka Swallows win their first national championship (SASL – South African Soccer League).

Leeds United winger Albert “Hurry-Hurry” Johanneson becomes the first Black South African (indeed the first Black ever) to play in an English FA Cup final (against Liverpool).


The anti-racist SASL (South African Soccer League) folds due to lack of playing grounds.


The Apartheid regime cancels a match between White champions Highlands Park and Orlando Pirates in Mbabane, Swaziland. The racist Football Association of South Africa’s (FASA) reputation and international standing is seriously damaged as FIFA had sanctioned the match.

The South African Soccer Federation forms a six-team professional league.

1970   Coloured and Indian players are purged from African clubs.

South Africa is expelled from the Olympic Movement.


The National Professional Soccer League (NPSL) launches the Keg League (later renamed Castle League), sponsored by South African Breweries.

Kaizer Motaung’s All-Star XI is renamed Kaizer Chiefs.


Bernard “Dancing Shoes” Hartze (Cape Town Spurs, Federation Professional league) sets a South African record for a single season goal-scoring average: 35 goals in 16 matches.”

1972 July

The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) informs the non-racial South African Soccer Federation (SASF), led by Mr. Norman Middleton, that its application for membership arrived too late to be placed before the next congress of FIFA in August. FIFA also clarifies that the White Football Association of South Africa had not been suspended for contravening its rules but because of South African Government policy. Acceptance of FIFA would have meant expulsion of FASA (Football Association of South Africa).

1972 August

The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) executive gives special permission to the Football Association of South Africa to have overseas teams participate in the South African Games in Pretoria in 1973, asking for assurance that Blacks would be allowed to watch the games. (South Africa has friends in the FIFA executive; its position in the FIFA Congress is weak. Congress approval was not necessary for the above special permission and the matter was not mentioned at the FIFA Congress in Paris.)

1973 26 January

The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) announced, after a postal ballot of the executive committee, to allow foreign teams to go to South Africa to participate in the South African Games in March.

1973 11 February

The Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) withdraws the special permission it had given to amateur football teams to take part in the South African Games to be held in Pretoria in March-April 1973, when it becomes clear that FASA is planning separate teams for different ethnic groups. FIFA had temporarily lifted suspension on the Football Association of South Africa (FASA) on the understanding that the Games would be multi-racial.

1973 25 May

The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Dr. P.G.J. Koornhof, announces in the House of Assembly that the Government had given approval “for the staging in 1974 of an open national soccer tournament in which the different South African nations can participate on a multinational basis. This is that a South African representative white team, a South African representative Coloured team, a South African representative Indian team and a South African representative Zulu, Xhosa or any other Bantu (sic) national team can compete in the tournament.”

A Whites-only team beats a Blacks-only team twice in the “multi-national” South African Games (4-0; 3-1) at the Rand Stadium, Johannesburg.


A Whites-only team defeats a Blacks-only team (2-0) in the Embassy Multinational Series at the Rand Stadium.

1974 3 June

Mr. Norman Middleton, president of the South African Soccer Federation, is refused a passport to attend a meeting of the International Football Federation (FINA) in Frankfurt on 11 June. He had refused to give an undertaking to the Minister of the Interior that he would do nothing to harm South African sport at the Frankfurt meeting. He said he considered the issue of a conditional passport to be “blackmail.”

1974 14 October

The Minister of Sport, Dr. Piet Koornhof, says in the House of Assembly that the Government’s aim is to move away from discrimination in sport, disclosing that a “champion of champions” soccer tournament would be held, probably in February: “White and non-White clubs could take part”. Further, he invites the major cricketing bodies for round table talks on their problems. He confirms that a Black boxer would meet a White boxer for the South African championship. Under specific questioning, he replied that the Coloured Proteas could play against the Rugby Springboks any time.

1974 6 November

The executive committee of the International Football Federation (FIFA) rejects an Ethiopian proposal to expel South Africa. It decides that the matter can be dealt with only at the next congress, during the Olympic Games in Montreal, in 1976. South Africa remains suspended, meaning that foreign players, not teams, can still be imported to South Africa. FIFA decides to send a delegation to South Africa early in 1975 to investigate conditions.


South Africa is formally expelled from FIFA. The Football Council of South Africa is formed, chaired by George Thabe.


The National Football League (NFL) folds.


For the first time, commercial sponsorships of soccer exceed R1 million.

Jomo Sono buys Highlands Park, an historically White club in Pretoria and renames it Jomo Cosmos. This move by Sono signals growing Black power in South African soccer.


Unity talks between the Federation and Football Council break down. The Breakaway National Soccer League (NSL) is launched in accordance with anti-apartheid principles.


ANC representatives meet with National Soccer League (NSL) and Federation officials in Lusaka to discuss “unity” and the role of soccer in the struggle against apartheid.

1991 8 December

Four historically divided and entirely separate bodies unite and found the non-racial South African Football Association (SAFA) in Durban.

1992 3 July

The South African Football Association (SAFA) is accepted back into FIFA. Domestic soccer is reorganized along non-racial, democratic principles.

SAFA receives a standing ovation at the Confederation of African Football’s congress of 1992 in Dakar.

1992 7 July

South Africa re-enters international football by hosting its first fully representative international soccer match at King’s Park Stadium. The South African national team, later known as Bafana Bafana (the Boys), defeats Cameroon 1-0.

1994 10 May

Hours after his presidential inauguration, Nelson Mandela attends, with 80,000 spectators at Ellis Park, Johannesburg, the South Africa — Zambia soccer match (2-1).

1995       Orlando Pirates win African Champions’ Cup.


South Africa hosts the African Cup of Nations. They go on to become champions of Africa after beating Tunisia (2-0) at First National Bank stadium.

The Premier Soccer League is launched.

The Pickard Commission of inquiry highlights corruption and mismanagement of top-flight soccer.

2004       South Africa is awarded the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.



  1. […] the rest here: Viva CAF, Viva South African Soccer Federation, and UP the Bells … Posted in Africa | Tags: 1958-1963-details, Africa, black-africa, chose-over, his-dealings, […]

    Pingback by Viva CAF, Viva South African Soccer Federation, and UP the Bells … | Black Africa — February 19, 2010 @ 10:39 am | Reply

  2. Came across this read and wow what a graet topic.

    Sports and politics has always been a contentious issue and this illustrates all the obstacles we have over some and all the great ones we have challenging us soon. This is also an important read to educate all those who are blind to the implications on sport due to the diffculties in politics.

    I sure will recommend this read to many!

    CS Mattera

    Comment by Shari Mattera — April 8, 2010 @ 12:55 pm | Reply

  3. It is sad that the true non racial administrators are not recognised for their contribution towards making South African a truly democratic Society. Whites in SA were obsessed towards sports and one of the ways in creating a truly nonracial society was to have them expelled from international sport. Our administrators made many sacrifices to ensure that there was no discrimination based on color. Hassen Howa conned the phrase “no normal sport in an abnormal society” was a basis in which these administrators fought. Morgan Naidoo many a time paid from his own pocket to ensure that the non racial swimming fraternity continued to function. Errol “Burri” Martin was banished from Kaizer Chiefs because he was too white. People who maitained the racial codes of sport such as George Thabe are recognised while individuals such a R.K. Naidoo, Rama Reddy, Norman Middelton were not recognised. Many others whom you have acknowledged need to be documented in the true historic fight for democracy. At the late RK Naidoo’s funeral, there was no mention of his contribution towards non racism in sport. Danny Jordan who cut his teeth in sports administration under the Federation Professional League did not even send his condolences. One of the strategies government and major industry used unsuccessfully to crush the SASF and FPL was to sponsor large amounts of money to the purely black sporting bodies and a few thousand rand to FPL. In the end we achieved our goal, but it would be nice for the truth be told and those who made the real sacrifices be recognised. It would be nice to obtain a copy of the minutes of the meeting in Zimbabwe which was attended by the SASF representatives and ANC (represented by Thabo Mbeki and others)to inform the general public of the true nature of the discussion.

    Comment by rugs naidu — July 4, 2010 @ 8:13 pm | Reply

  4. remember this………..? (ala Vela)
    vandemadaram…vandemadaramme die bluebells maak ‘n ding
    my father had a donkey-cart he load full of peaches
    everytime the bluebells kick….they kick it into pieces
    vandemadaram…. … …
    when da (swaraj) came onto the field…their shorts were white as snow
    after bluebells made a thing……hoooo,kyk hoe lyk hulle nou
    vande… …


    Comment by moe — July 13, 2010 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

    • i can remember watching these guys louis jeevanatham, goona, rosy francis who had the most spelbounding ball control especially rosy if combined with “magic” ronnie govender. but later in years there was a team called arsenal from fietas managed by the late gonnie vitie. they had very good and talented players in the likes of ben billings and not to mention a guy called “slow” who had the looks of the master great player of kaizer chiefs, ace ntsoelengo.there was clasic battles between arsenal and real madrid.also a man that was admired for his love and commitment of the game, and also whome many great soccer players admired was “sarge” mr ivan naido.Goona,Rosy,Hashim,Alan moonsamy,king goals,links,lucas oranje,agie,magic,smiley moosa,krish sing,ralph chame,vla, the govender brothers of vereeniging old boys,siga sylvester and gomez of the breeez,i can go on and on. these guys where gods of soccer in my groing up days and also of playing the game myself. i say hola STFU AND FEDERATION forever in my heart.

      Comment by brian — September 22, 2010 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  5. Hi Rugs great article,also Hassen Lorgat amazing knowledge you guys have about our past. I remember coming to joburg as a 14yr old in the sixties & the permit system for us Indians.I recall watching the young self taught LOUIS JEEVANANTHAM(Bluebells Utd)play on the corrugated Lenasia grounds.If it wasn’t for his injuries I bet he would have been the finest footballer produced by this country.My elder brother who has seen Dharam, Bob Pillay and Thiri Rampath play, tells me of the first time he saw Louis(PMB United) play at Curries Fountain and how the crowd went wild watching this youngster display his skills.Could write the whole night about the great old days. Remember a player calle Fla from Kliptown Burnley & the Swaraj soccer Tournaments.Also the great Arsenal side from Noordgesig with Prince and the van der Haar brothers.

    Comment by Errol Khan — August 24, 2010 @ 7:10 pm | Reply

    • hi there Sir… I am Philani Mncwabe Honours student in UKZN, and would love to write in great dept about the role of Indians in soccer and the liberation of this country, can you and Rugs provide me with your email address so i can send you one of my papers on Soccers and Politics. my email address thank you

      Comment by Philani Mncwabe — June 1, 2012 @ 8:03 am | Reply


    Comment by BASIL ARENDS — January 25, 2011 @ 10:37 am | Reply

  7. Hi
    My name is Shereen Pandit. If there’s anyone out there who remembers not only the general struggle to isolate racist and collaborator SA sport through SACOS, but also specific campaigns and events such as the sports action committee campaign, the Olympics of the Oppressed in 1982, etc. you may remember me.
    If you were also a pupil at Trafalgar High School, that bedrock of “no normal sport in an abnormal society” – I am very keen to hear from you asap. I’m working on a project which I promise you will find of great interest. My email address is: Please head your email “Trafs” so that you don’t get spammed by accident.
    All the best

    Comment by Shereen — September 9, 2011 @ 2:19 pm | Reply

  8. anybody remember Kelvin Sampson?

    Comment by alf — November 4, 2011 @ 10:14 am | Reply

  9. In later years groing up in a so called shanty town called fietas there was some epic clashes between teams like Bosmont Chelsea and Chelsea United, JHb City and Dynamos, Manchester United and JHB City ore any team who plays against Manchester United on the day. I still have not seen a player with the ball control Rosy had”no offence for a indian guy” he was magical. He could take on a row of defenders all along the line and finaly laying it of to “MAGIC” Ronnie govender who was another class of his own.Toby Hattia was devestating when he played for Transvaal United on a day scoring six goals against Berea, i still remember.
    Fietas STFU once again for life.

    Comment by BRIAN (GUNNERS FOR EVER) — November 11, 2011 @ 6:05 pm | Reply







    Comment by Lucas Zolile Ntisana — January 14, 2012 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

    • hi Lucas
      there is an academy the MIDas football academy which is a community academy that may help you.
      write to
      in solidarity
      and good luck

      Comment by newritings — April 12, 2012 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

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