Stan­ley Goven­der

Sunday Tribune - - HERALD -

WHETHER Stan­ley Goven­der used his hands, feet or head, he daz­zled on the

sports field.

Only a few sports­men have ever had the unique hon­our of play­ing first class cricket and pro­fes­sional foot­ball at the same time, and ex­celling.

Goven­der, now 60, was among those gifted few.

As a crick­eter, he was one of the old Natal Cricket Board’s most capped play­ers.

Play­ing foot­ball for Berea in the for­mer Fed­er­a­tion Pro­fes­sional League (FPL), Goven­der was in the thick of the ac­tion when his team, Berea, took on Sun­downs in the 1976 Coca Cola Cup fi­nal.

Nearly 30000 foot­ball fans thronged at Cur­ries Foun­tain on that oc­ca­sion. The con­test ended 3-3, with Goven­der scor­ing twice.

Berea won 6-3, in ex­tra time, in the re­play which is widely re­garded to be among the most mem­o­rable matches ever played at the venue.

And he was a bul­let of a sprinter on the ath­let­ics track. He once clocked a time of 10.8 dur­ing a 100m sprint, also at “Cur­ries”, dur­ing his high school days.

Like so many talented sports­men who were in their prime dur­ing the 1970s and 80s, Goven­der was born at the wrong time.

Goven­der be­lieves he could have achieved so much more had he re­ceived the right nur­tur­ing from a young age.

Af­ter briefly watch­ing the 16-year-old Goven­der play a few cricket shots dur­ing a train­ing ses­sion in 1973, West In­dian cricket coach Keith Barker was bowled over.

Barker was con­vinced

Goven­der had the po­ten­tial to play in­ter­na­tional cricket and sug­gested a move to Eng­land to fur­ther his abil­ity.

Af­ter all, ev­ery­thing Goven­der knew about cricket, he learnt through read­ing books.

Barker had so much con­fi­dence in Goven­der’s abil­ity that he even ar­ranged for a spon­sor to pay for his re­lo­ca­tion.

But Goven­der’s con­ser­va­tive up­bring­ing stumped that drive.

His mother, in par­tic­u­lar, was un­moved. She asked him to fo­cus on his ed­u­ca­tion.

He ex­celled at that too. All through his years of school­ing, Goven­der, of Bayview in Chatsworth, was an out­stand­ing pupil, but it was his abil­ity on the sports field that set him apart.

At the age of 13 he was al­ready play­ing se­nior cricket for Chatsworth United Cricket Club and at around the same time he broke into the Natal Schools Un­der 13 team.

That sparked his long as­so­ci­a­tion with Natal cricket teams there­after.

He made the Natal Men’s “B” side in his Grade 11 (Stan­dard 9) year. When he even­tu­ally got into the Natal “A” team, Goven­der made it an oc­ca­sion to re­mem­ber by scor­ing a quick-fire 50 against Transvaal at Tills Cres­cent in Over­port.

Goven­der was 19 on de­but and even­tu­ally went on to achieve 51 First Class caps with Natal un­til he bowed out in 1991. What made that achieve­ment re­mark­able was that the old SA Cricket Board had only four af­fil­i­ates (Natal, Transvaal, Eastern and West­ern Prov­ince) play­ing in their top league, which usu­ally amounted to six roundrobin fix­tures per sea­son.

Apart from scor­ing bags of runs for his prov­ince, in­clud­ing many fifties, he also had lengthy spells as the team’s vice-cap­tain and cap­tain.

Cricket was al­ways his first love. When he had to choose be­tween play­ing cricket and con­tin­u­ing with Berea in the 1980s, he chose the for­mer and never re­gret­ted his choice.

Goven­der was born in Kings Rest on the Bluff and said he had a vague me­mory of life back then.

But he does re­mem­ber his fam­ily’s tin house that sat on stilts near “West”, a well-known fish­ing spot in the area.

His fam­ily lived com­mu­nally with his fa­ther An­na­malai’s four broth­ers and their fam­i­lies.

“We had food on our doorstep,” said Goven­der, re­fer­ring to the abun­dance of crabs and fish that they had ac­cess to.

“My un­cles were good fish­er­men and my older broth­ers (Sam, Kr­ish and Ray­mond) were good swim­mers,” he said.

His fam­ily was re­lo­cated to Chatsworth when he was 4.

As fate would have it, be­hind his fam­ily’s two- bed­roomed coun­cil home on Lib­erty Street in Bayview was the lo­cal sports field.

He spent many hours hon­ing his sport­ing skills there and it was also the venue where he made some telling con­tri­bu­tions with the bat, mostly for Chatsworth United.

Goven­der has great ad­mi­ra­tion for the stal­warts of Chatsworth cricket, peo­ple like John Pillay, Muthoo Pillay, Kr­ish Goven­der, DM Shaik and Willy Soupen.

“Kr­ish and Soupen were the main lead­ers of Chatsworth United.

“Cricket was in their blood, they and other ad­min­is­tra­tors of­ten paid from their own pock­ets to make cricket pos­si­ble for us,” Goven­der re­mem­bered.

He said Chatsworth play­ers were re­garded as “min­nows” when he started play­ing the game and he was de­ter­mined to change that per­cep­tion.

The suc­cesses of Chatsworth United, es­pe­cially in the 1970s and 80s in com­pe­ti­tions like the Natal Cup and the Su­per League, put a new spin how Chatsworth crick­eters were viewed.

Goven­der’s broth­ers were also com­pe­tent crick­eters. When he, to­gether with his broth­ers Kr­ish, Ray­mond and Elvis, rep­re­sented Natal in a first class match at the same time in the early 80s, their rare achieve­ment was recorded in the an­nals of South African cricket.

An­other in­sti­tu­tion close to Goven­der’s heart was Chatsworth High.

Af­ter com­plet­ing Grade 8 (Stan­dard 6) at Glen­over High in West­cliff, he moved to Chatsworth the next year be­cause the school’s prin­ci­pal was sport-minded, much to Goven­der’s lik­ing.

Goven­der was al­ready in the Natal cricket team, he was an out­stand­ing foot­baller and never lost sprint races in school days.

So it was not sur­pris­ing that Goven­der, who was re­quired to wear his green Natal blazer to school, had the re­spect and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of his peers.

Renowned foot­ball man­ager Dona Mu­daly drew Goven­der to Berea when he was 18, but not be­fore Man­ning Rangers and their cap­tain, Sugar Singh, made a bid.

Goven­der joined Berea when play­ers like Daya Maistry, Pat Blair, Dudu Moon­samy and Charles Carey were house­hold names.

Hav­ing joined af­ter the sea­son was al­ready in progress, Goven­der, play­ing as a striker, net­ted on 14 oc­ca­sions but was pipped to the FPL’S goal scor­ing award by Nevilled Londt, who bagged 16 goals.

“Life was great when I was with Berea. They had won­der­ful di­rec­tors who treated the play­ers well.

“I re­mem­ber the ma­roon blaz­ers we wore to af­ter-match func­tions. Our favourite hang­outs were Moon Ho­tel in Clair­wood and Chatsworth’s Sav­era Ho­tel.

Goven­der be­lieves the best goal he ever scored came in the 1976 Coca Cola Cup fi­nal against Sun­downs.

“We were 0-2 down when Dudu Moon­samy crossed the ball, which I gath­ered and shot with my left foot from out­side the penalty area. The ball flew into the top left cor­ner.

“I picked up a groin strain in that match and started in the re­play, in spite of my in­jury. I was re­placed by Scampy Bisses­sor with 18 min­utes to go. We were three goals down at the time and even­tu­ally won 6-3 in ex­tra time.”

Goven­der said his best years with Berea were when for­mer Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker was with the team.

He left Berea in 1981 with no re­grets be­cause it was be­com­ing too much of a chal­lenge to jug­gle cricket and foot­ball.

A year ear­lier, he had met his wife, Sushie, who lived in Ash­erville. Sushie’s cousins were his neigh­bours in Chatsworth.

“She is a splen­did woman and I’m very lucky she gave me the op­por­tu­nity to pur­sue my sport­ing in­ter­ests.”

Goven­der is a long-serv­ing em­ployee in Dur­ban Univer­sity of Tech­nol­ogy’s sports de­part­ment. He’s also had a long spell as a selec­tor with the Dol­phins cricket team and man­aged the KZN Am­a­teur cricket team for a sea­son.

He’s look­ing for­ward to re­tire­ment, more trav­els with Sushie and spend­ing more time with fam­ily, es­pe­cially his grand­daugh­ter, Alexyss Han­nah. Name: Dhanasee­lan “Stan­ley” Goven­der. Born: 6 July, 1952 in Kings Rest, Bluff. Fa­ther: An­na­malai, who worked for a petroleum com­pany, Shell Oil.

Mother: Tho­laysamma, a house­wife. Sib­lings: Sam, Kr­ish, Ray­mond, Elvis and sis­ter Mully.

Wife: Sushie

Mar­ried: 1982.

Chil­dren: Stan­ton and Daryll, grand­daugh­ter Alexyss.

Pri­mary Schools: Fairhaven and De­pot Road.

High Schools: Glen­over and Chatsworth High.

Ter­tiary: BA Phys­i­cal Ed­u­ca­tion at UDW. Did not com­plete course. Hob­bies: Squash re­laxes me. I feel good af­ter a game

Favourite TV shows: Come­dies on Dstv’s Chan­nel 122.

Favourite mu­sic: Old school 1970’s and 80’s mu­sic by the Bee Gees, Bea­tles and Dire Straits.

Favourite book: Not an avid book reader but loves news­pa­pers.

Favourite meal: Any seafood meal. Favourite hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion: PE, the beach­front is great.

Favourite sport­ing per­son­al­ity: The SA7’S player, Se­abelo Se­natla.

Favourite sport­ing team: The SA 7’s rugby team. I watch all their games.they play hard but they are sport­ing af­ter­wards.

Best gift: My grand­child Alexyss. She is my life.

Dis­likes: Cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion of cricket and rugby in the coun­try. I don’t think these codes are trans­formed enough. Back­stab­bing and mud­sling­ing is com­mon, many ad­min­is­tra­tors have for­got­ten their roots. Most dif­fi­cult op­po­nent: Once I played in the right back po­si­tion for Berea. Char­lie Sobben of Veru­lam Sub­urbs ran rings around me.at half-time I asked to be sub­sti­tuted. The venue I en­joyed play­ing at the most: Cricket – Le­na­sia Sta­dium, Joburg. Foot­ball – Cur­rie’s Foun­tain.

Favourite Jer­sey Num­ber: 4.

The Goven­der broth­ers: Ray­mond, Sam and Kr­ish (back); Elvis and Stan­ley (front).

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