Public Eye (South Africa)

Community mourns stalwart sports personalit­y

- Jordan Erradu

The Pietermari­tzburg sports community was dealt a devastatin­g blow recently with the death of Anand Pillay, a keen sportsman and stalwart administra­tor.

Pillay was the founder and president of Wolves Football Club, a household name in the Northdale, Pietermari­tzburg and KZN soccer circles, which he establishe­d in 1981. The club was affiliated to the Pietermari­tzburg and District Soccer Associatio­n (PADSA) and had teams affiliated in every division from under 13 to the senior divison.

Pillay was born on October 3, 1958 in Haythorns Hill. He attended Mountain Rise Primary School and then Woodlands High School. After matriculat­ing, he enrolled for a law degree at the University of Durban-westville (now UKZN).

In paying tribute to Pillay, Wolves Football Club described him as a trailblaze­r, an iconic legend and a superstar.

"Pillay and his colleagues took the dream of starting a football club in Northdale which formed the epicenter and nucleus to spark the flame that Wolves Football Club was in the making. That spark turned into a fire that represente­d passion, commitment and a desire for what was to come," the club said in a statement.

"Pillay loved Wolves from the moment of inception and immediatel­y had massive dreams for the club. However, he was acutely aware that in order for Wolves to ultimately fulfill his dream, he would need to nurture, love and shape the pathway to success in a way that would require hard work, immense personal sacrifice and a life time journey of dedication and commitment. He immediatel­y embraced this journey with vigour, enthusiasm and unwavering commitment. The burning fire within him emerged, setting Wolves FC alight," the club said.

The tribute stated that Pillay had the visionary foresight coupled with sound execution and tactical plans in creating a masterpiec­e for the club, flourishin­g as a fearsome force competing with top tier clubs in Pietermari­tzburg and the KZN region. Through his leadership, the club achieved multiple awards, accolades and recognitio­n and earned the reputation as one of the most feared, respected and admired football clubs in KZN.

"Pillay was a collaborat­ive leader. He built trust in his players by encouragin­g them to speak openly. He was a calm, gentle man who always respected everyone.

He was way beyond his years as a leader and had a unique, meticulous style in leading. He served Wolves F C with dignity, pride and honour," read the statement.

As an exceptiona­l administra­tor, Pillay led by example and considered ethics and morals to be the inherent qualities of a good administra­tor. He was an executive member of PADSA and fought for players to be given better and more opportunit­ies. He gained the respect and admiration of sporting and civic organisati­ons and made a significan­t and meaningful contributi­on towards social transforma­tion.

Dr Ivan Pillay, of Kashmir Football Club, described Pillay as the heartbeat of Wolves Football Club. He said that he nurtured and supervised the growth of the club from its formative stages in the early 1980s.

"Through his devotion and hard work, the club was transforme­d into one of the leading and most popular names in Northdale and beyond, winning several honours. There are very few individual­s to emulate his contributi­on to the developmen­t of youth football in Northdale during this period," he said.

He added that Pillay commanded respect among all in the footballin­g fraternity.

"He was a man of integrity who upheld the principles of fair play and non-racialism at a difficult time in our country's history. I have warm memories of him as a friend and fellow administra­tor," he said.

A friend and work colleague for 32 years, Urasha Budhai, said that Pillay was a true gentleman to whom you could go to for help and he would not refuse to assist.

"He mentored a lot people at work and showed them respect. He was a quiet person yet full of integrity. We travelled together to work and back and he became like an elder brother to me," Budhai said.

She added that he was a very hard working person and always came up with a solution to every problem.

Pillay is survived by his wife Zarina, his children Harsha and Hitesh and grand daughter Aari


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