It was humbling to hear so many people from all walks of life eloquently expressing the amazing work and legacy the late Doctor Mabena left behind, following his untimely death at age 41.
This on the day when the Totalsports Alex Safe Hub was unveiled.
I’m sure Doctor – as we all knew him in football – born Mogomotsi Ramoabi Mabena, would have graced this occasion with his love for the game and expressed his candid views about the sport he dedicated his life to.
He would love to have rubbed shoulders with his erstwhile friends in the South African Football Association, the South African Schools Football Association and the Alex football fraternity.
Doctor, as I knew him too, would not allow a matter that threatened the life and soul of football to go unchallenged. It is no wonder he wasn’t in the good books of many in the local football association in Alexandra, as he was not just viewed as a threat to their comfort zones but was seen as a madman who wanted to snatch the prize from under their eyes.
Similar to politics, football has its fair share of people who are in it for something personal – for personal aggrandisement, so to speak. And this was not the goal that Doctor envisaged for football – not just in Alexandra but the entire country, continent and the world.
Alexandra – although a tiny but densely populated township – has the oldest and one of the largest footballing communities in the city of Johannesburg. There are more than a 100 teams in the Alexandra Northrand Local Football Association (ANLFA) and because of its organised nature and the publicity it receives from the local media, it is the envy of many other local associations citywide, as I can bear testament to.
I often take calls from as far afield as Midrand, Soweto, Orange Farm, the Vaal, Thembisa, Diepsloot and so on, all asking me to do exactly what I do, and have done, for Alex football. I have, for many years, given exposure to Alex football through Alex News and secured donations of soccer kits and boots for Alex players and clubs through these articles.
Teams are trekking to Alexandra from neighbouring Thembisa, the Joburg CBD and other places, abandoning their own ill-run leagues and joining the Alex league.
Yet, there were none of these players, administrators, coaches, club owners, officials, referees and leaders of football associations at Doctor’s memorial to mourn the death of a stalwart, simply because they differed on football matters.
The problem in the Alexandra football fraternity is that if someone has had a tiff with Sipho Siso, then everyone within that fraternity becomes your enemy, even if you never crossed paths with them.
I know Doctor was not the ANLFA’s cup of tea but that should not automatically translate to the association’s affiliates. They should have still paid homage to this great football legend.
Come on guys … be bold enough and be independent thinkers and don’t just follow like sheep.