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By unknown | May 24, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THERE has been a sudden realisation that the history of South African football has never really been told, so certain people are doing something about it.

THERE has been a sudden realisation that the history of South African football has never really been told, so certain people are doing something about it.

For one so young, both in terms of age and journalism, Koonyaditse must be commended for taking on such a mammoth task.

While reading the book, and especially about the author, who I have come to know personally, I was reminded of what one of my mentors and former editor, Joe Latakgomo, once said to us as budding journalists in the 1980s.

"In everyone of you there is a book crying out to be written. Look into yourselves and find that book and write it!" Bra Joe said.

He has since written one himself, Mzansi Magic, which, like Koonyaditse's work, traces the origins of South African football.

Koonyaditse might as well have been there when Latakgomo said that to us all those years ago.

He takes us through the history of football as it should not have been played, when the colour of your skin determined who you could play with, the formation of structured associations, their break-up through racial lines, puppets, stooges and rebels through to the early years of international football to the current 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The book is research-based but lacks follow-up on some information, as in the naming of Bafana Bafana, which is attributed to then Sowetan sports reporter Sbusiso Mseleku and some colleagues. The obvious follow-up question should have been, who are those colleagues. It shouldn't be too difficult to remember two other people.

While still on that, Moroka Swallows legend, the late Difference Mbanya was nicknamed "City Council" (uMaspala) and not just "City" as is mentioned in the foreword. The other misconception in the book is that the idea of staging a Fifa World Cup in South Africa was the dream of one man, former Safa president Solomon "Stix" Morewa, which it isn't since he was part of a delegation of the association that attended the World Cup in the United States in 1994 where the idea first gained momentum.

But as in any attempt to capture history from other peoples' memories one is bound to be open to sometimes clashing recollections and make factual mistakes.

This book, just as Latakgomo's, should be seen as a challenge to all those out who are a goldmine of South African football information to share memories with coming generations.

The approach to these should, however, be easier on the eye and mind. History can be traced and written about in a manner that makes the reader a part of the story instead of repeating what's in the other book.

Maybe all I want to say is, we should now write books about the characters that have been and are larger than life in the game.

That would make interesting reading and that is the challenge.

Koonyaditse's book is worth your library shelve space.


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