Charity Cup is in my blood, says veteran official

STILL TICKING: Leepile 'LM' Taunyane. Pic. Mbuzeni Zulu. 19/07/2007. © Sowetan.
STILL TICKING: Leepile 'LM' Taunyane. Pic. Mbuzeni Zulu. 19/07/2007. © Sowetan.

One of the long-serving football administrators in the country, Leepile "LM" Taunyane, is still going strong.

One of the long-serving football administrators in the country, Leepile "LM" Taunyane, is still going strong.

Despite his age, 79-year-old Taunyane is still actively involved in soccer and his task is to see to it that everything is in place for the yearly Telkom Charity Cup.

Born in Alexandra township on December 14, 1928, Taunyane has achieved a lot in education and has been one of the most enterprising administrators in the game.

A teacher by profession, Taunyane was also the chairman of the former Transvaal United Teachers Association (Tuata) in the early 1970s.

Meshack Motloung (MM): Mr Taunyane, you are synonymous with the Telkom Charity Cup, how do you feel?

Leepile Taunyane (LT): Mish, I feel great, to be the chairman of the Telkom Charity Cup Trust to me is not just a job, but it is something close to my heart. But in reality I'm rendering services to the community.

MM: Whose idea was it to have an event of such magnitude?

LM: The idea was mooted by three persons, Abdul Bhamjee, Cyril Kobus and myself. It happened in 1986 after the split, and by then a number of charitable organisations were requesting clubs to play friendlies to raise funds.

A lot were requesting from soccer if football cannot help them financially.

MM: So what move did you make?

LM: After assessing the situation, we thought of staging a one-day, four-team tournament.

It was first called the Iwisa Charity Cup Soccer Spectacular tournament, sponsored by the Maize Board.

MM: Was the tournament a success?

LM: Oh yes, because in its inception (year) we raked in R310 000. Now we were faced with problems because the beneficiaries were too many and they received very small amounts from the tournament.

MM: What was your next move?

LM: We thought of reducing the number of beneficiaries and upped the money.

MM: At this juncture how many charitable organisations have benefited from this tournament?

LM: I can't say because a lot of organisations for the past 21 years have been benefiting. So far we have spent more than R66 million.

MM: At the moment you are the Telkom Charity Cup/NSL Trust chairman, how did that come about?

LM: In fact, I was assigned to take over the event and run with it. As a result, I concentrated on three areas, the elderly people, the children and the those who are disabled.

We also visited the places where these people are and it is heartbreaking. It's touching to see an elderly person being neglected by his child or children.

MM: You have been highly involved with the event, where do you think the charity cup will be in 2010?

LM: I think if my health allows me I will still be in this organisation, unless my bosses fire me or my feet fail me. But the Charity Cup is in my blood and it has become part of me. Because I'm offering a service more than anything else.

MM: How many applications are you expecting a season?

LM: We expect thousands of them, because soon we'll be dealing with about eight to 10 mail bags from the Post Office full of applications. Some are turned down after they are assessed.

MM: Have you not encountered problems with the fly-by-night organisations?

LM: We did. Sometimes we used to receive applications, well written, stating their problems and so forth, but only to find out that such an organisation was nonexistent. So we are now visiting the applicants and check the organisation if it is registered.

If not, then we turn the application down.

MM: Who makes selections, and who goes to these organisations to see if they exist?

LM: We have a selection committee, the operation committee and the trust committee. They are all involved in the entire operation of this event.