Footie revivalist

SHIFAAN RYKLIEF

Newly-elected Battswood FC president, Adeep Abrahams, hopes to help the club relive its glory days during his term and beyond.

The former professional shot-stopper was elected the Wynberg-based club’s president at their annual general meeting, with Mark Bredeveld taking up the chairman’s role and Anton Samuels to continue as club secretary.

Abrahams was part of the formidable Battswood pro team of the 1980s and competed in the South African Federation Professional League (FPL) in 1989 – the highest soccer league in South Africa during the apartheid regime.

The 87-year-old club went on to win the treble in their debut pro season, as well as various individual awards in the FPL, which consisted of teams such as Cape Town Spurs, Lightbody’s Santos and Glendene United. And, Abrahams said he hopes to use his experience to lead Battswood to be the feared club it once was.“The club has been going through some trying times, and I’m happy to have been roped in to help change that,” said Abrahams.

“All these years old teammates and I have seen how things have gone and how the club hasn’t lived up to its full potential.

“If you look at the success we had historically, we assumed things would just carry on from there. It’s an honour for me to be elected as president at the club where I grew up. It’s an amazing achievement for me and I told the guys I’ll give 200 percent, as done when I played.

“Prior to this, I served as a treasurer, a coach and a manager in the pro setup.

“But this will be an interesting challenge. We have had a number of meetings to plan the things we want to implement this season,” he said.

In the past, Battswood were spoilt for choice with more than 200 junior members.

They won the under-19 Premier Cup in 1991 and have produced a number of players who went on to play to professionally and represent the national team.

Abrahams said he understands the monumental task at hand but that their focus for this season is about consolidation and to ensure they maintain the numbers at the club.

“Before, we used to have two or three teams for each division from under-9 up to under-19, but now only one team for each division and two senior teams,” said Abrahams.

“We want to get the numbers up again and Mark will be getting in touch with surrounding schools to get them involved in playing at the club.