The history of amateur soccer in Bloemfontein got a special mention in a new book, A Glimpse into the Past – Triumph over Adversity, compiled by Mahomed Sibda.
The book, which was commissioned by the Eastern Transvaal Football Association, mainly looks into the struggle against apartheid sports, which was led by the South African Soccer Federation (SASF).
Among others, the book highlights the work of the Orange Free State Soccer Board (OFSSB), which was formed in 1940 by the late Joe Solomon, a former school principal from Heidedal, where a primary school still carries his name.
Other well-known Bloemfonteiners on the board included the late Percy Murison, also a school principal, and Billy Murison, a successful businessman, after whom a soccer stadium in Heidedal was named.
According to the book in those early years soccer in the area was played across the colour line.
“This however, changed dramatically after 1948. Participation in soccer became limited and was played mainly between black and so-called coloured players. There were no Indians in the Free State at that time, as they were barred entry.
“In 1952 the non-racial SASF was formed, but the Free State was not ready for affiliation due to it being a small entity. However, in 1969 the OFSSB resolved to affiliate to the SASF when its membership reasonably increased in terms of club affiliation.”
According the book the group of officials that led this move included well-known Heidedallers such as Clive Solomon, who occupied the chairman’s seat for 16 years, Dr Nathan Bagarette, BJ Foster, Izak Coetzee, as well as the late Trevor Barlow.
This move paved the way for the first team from Bloemfontein, Birds, to play in most of the major tournaments of the SASF, where they performed exceptionally well. The OFSSB also participated in the club championship tournaments of the SASF until the arrival of the new dispensation in 1992.
For more information about the book, call 082 750 9090.