SAV­AGES CEL­E­BRATE IN STYLE

South Africa’s old­est foot­ball club an­nounce lofty de­vel­op­ment goals at 135­year an­niver­sary

The Witness - - FRONT PAGE - SITHEM­BISO DINDI • Photos by Gavin Nel and Sithem­biso Dindi • sithem­biso.dindi@witness.co.za

“What Sav­ages are do­ing here, work­ing on the grass­roots level and in­tro­duc­ing young kids to foot­ball, is a right thing to do, and it’s amaz­ing. What Sav­ages need ... is more sup­port from lo­cal peo­ple, gov­ern­ment, and lo­cal busi­nesses. There is a need to cel­e­brate what they are.”

ON their big day of com­mem­o­rat­ing a 135­year an­niver­sary, Sav­ages Foot­ball Club had a cel­e­bra­tion that was fit for South Africa’s old­est club.

The lo­cal club cel­e­brated in style as they were in­ducted into the glob­ally­recog­nised Club of Pi­o­neers at Collegians Hall in town on Satur­day.

De­spite the main guest speaker Jomo Sono not mak­ing it to the event, the cel­e­bra­tions went on un­til the early hours of yes­ter­day.

Other than Sav­ages’ old boys who who spent time hav­ing fun and rem­i­nisc­ing about the good old days, also in at­ten­dance was the chair­man of the world’s first foot­ball club, Sh­effield FC Richards Tims.

Tims, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife Jenny and son Fred­die, de­scribed be­ing joined by Sav­ages in the pi­o­neers’ fold as an hon­our.

“They are not just a pi­o­neer for South Africa, but for the whole of Africa. It is an hon­our for both Sav­ages and Sh­effield,” Tims said.

“What Sav­ages are do­ing here, work­ ing on the grass­roots level and in­tro­duc­ing young kids to foot­ball, is a right thing to do, and it is amaz­ing.

“What Sav­ages need, in my mind, is more sup­port from lo­cal peo­ple, gov­ern­ment, and lo­cal busi­nesses. There is a need to cel­e­brate what they are.”

Sav­ages’ chair­man Gavin Man­ickum said they were over­whelmed to be join­ing Sh­effield and 14 other sides at the old boys’ ta­ble.

He said the 135 years of ex­is­tence was a mile­stone for them and a call for them to work harder in tak­ing the beau­ti­ful game for­ward.

“It’s an ab­so­lutely great feel­ing for a club here in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg to be ac­knowl­edged by the num­ber one foot­ball club in the world, it just enor­mous and we are very proud,” said Man­ickum.

“Our core val­ues here are ju­nior foot­ball, help­ing chil­dren from the age of five all the way to se­nior foot­ball.”

He said their next big aim was also to in­tro­duce a pro­gramme for young girls to also play at grass­roots level.

“Foot­ball is just not for boys. We need to open it up to both gen­ders and start it at grass­roots level,” he said.

“That is our goal for 2018, to start get­ting young girls into foot­ball from the age of five and maybe af­ter some time, they will play for South Africa.”

The mile­stone did not only see the coun­try’s old­est club from Pi­eter­mar­itzb­hurg be­ing wel­comed into the Club of Pi­o­neers, but also be­ing recog­nised by the South African Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

“We are look­ing for a pos­i­tive joint ven­ture with Safa of de­vel­op­ing chil­dren and get them off the street. Get them to fo­cus on some­thing,” said Man­ickum.

“We are hop­ing that Safa is go­ing set up to al­ter­na­tive venues where chil­dren can play, im­prove the fa­cil­i­ties within Pi­eter­mar­itzburg and the sur­round­ing ar­eas.”

Other dig­ni­taries who graced the cel­e­bra­tion with their pres­ence in­cluded Msun­duzi Mayor Themba Njilo and KZN De­part­ment of Sport and Re­cre­ation man­ager Jay Man­nikam.

Both Njilo and Man­nikam promised to help Sav­ages con­tinue pro­mot­ing the sport in the lo­cal com­mu­nity.

In good spir­its at Satur­day’s an­niver­sary func­tion are (from left) Sav­ages FC chair­per­son Gavin Man­ickum, board mem­ber Ben­jamin ‘Ben’ Hartshorne, Sh­effield FC’s Richard Tims and old boy Brian McBey. Tims, from the world’s old­est foot­ball club, re­ceived...

Sav­ages board mem­ber Ben­jamin ‘Ben’ Hartshorne (centre) with fam­ily and friends.

A group of happy guests.

A Sav­ages FC old boys team in red pos­ing for a pic­ture be­fore their match on Satur­day.

A Sav­ages FC old boys team in blue pos­ing for a pic­ture be­fore their match on Satur­day.

Sav­ages old boys cel­e­brate a mo­ment to­gether in the club house af­ter play­ing a match be­fore Satur­day night’s func­tion.

Sav­ages board mem­ber Ben­jamin ‘Ben’ Hartshorne (right) presents a ser­vice award to Brian and Flick Ed­wards.

The Witness act­ing ed­i­tor Kuben Chetty (centre) and his wife Keshni were among the in­vited guests.

A gala vibe at the Sav­ages an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion.

Sav­ages FC chair­per­son Gavin Man­ickum de­liv­ers his speech dur­ing Satur­day’s an­niver­sary func­tion at Collegians Hall.

Jay Man­nikam, man­ager at KZN De­part­ment of Sport and Re­cre­ation, de­liv­ers a speech prais­ing Sav­ages FC’s role in the com­mu­nity.

Spe­cial guest Richards Tims from Sh­effield FC in Eng­land.

Brian McBey talks about the good old days of Sav­ages.

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