A worthy start for the Orlando East football legend

Football legends and the local football fraternity at large gathered at Diepkloof Hall on Friday June 8 to pay tribute and remember the legendary Jerry Sadike for his contribution to the South African football landscape.

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The Orlando East-born star who was laid to rest in West Park Cemetery was described by many as a compassionate, resilient and determined player who was unafraid to use football to fight apartheid.

“You can’t talk about South African football without talking about Jerry. He is one of the footballers who laid the foundations of football in this country,” said sportswriter Walter Mabeba.

Mabeba further described the loss as the “end of an era” for local football, adding that he was one of the finest players to grace South African football.

Kazier Chiefs Chairman Kazier Motaung also paid tribute in a letter to the family and further recalled Sadike’s football tenure.

“We are here to express our solidarity and to express our condolences as a football club. We are with you and we hope that you will take this moment as a reflection of who your father was,” read Vino Maphosa, head of communications for business at Kazier Chiefs.

“News of Sadike’s passing came unexpectedly as we were planning a meet and greet meeting for the Kazier Chiefs legends.”

In the letter, Motaung continued to say.

“He was a good guy that I got to know in my life. Not only was he a great football star, but he was also a warm and wonderful person among whom he had a fun nature, both on and off the field of play.”

Sadike’s illustrious football career began when he played as a pro for Pimville United Brothers, Orlando Pirates and Kazier Chiefs.

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“Jair”, as he was affectionately known, became the first black player to join a predominantly white team, Highland Park, in 1999 in the national professional football league, in what many at the time considered a bad decision and considered it a “sellout”. ”.

Former Bafana Bafana head coach Shakes Mashaba recalled when they played on the same team saying he was saddened by the lack of recognition of legendary football players in the country.

“People like Jerry should be in the lobbies and hallways of every stadium.

“He fought for this release in football.

“He was the first player to play in a white team, they are the people who should have played for Bafana Bafana at the time and who would have won the world cup.”

Mashaba also spoke about the deteriorating state of South African football. Without mincing words, he shared some of the concerning issues with agents within the fraternity, citing that there was a need for drastic changes.

“We won’t have any more Jerrys in football. I’m going to pray that God makes sure Jerry sits in the VIP lounge and watches SA football go down the drain,” he told attendees. .

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“Of the 100% in the PSL league, only 30% are good, the rest have done a favor to play.

“The Bafana Bafana lost because of agents and officials who don’t see the importance of a national team. It’s time for our football managers to open their eyes,” he said.

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