Former football administrator remembered

Brian Ebden

Former Mother City FC boss Brian Ebden, who died recently, has been described as caring and sometimes misunderstood.

Ebden, who grew up in Bo-Kaap and played his football for YMO St Lukes FC in Walmer Estate, died on Wednesday July 14 after suffering from cardiac arrest, said his son Imran.

“He was my best friend,” said the 27-year-old Imran.

The often controversial Ebden has worn many hats from sports administration, to advertising executive and consultant. And his son credited this flexibility to his understanding of how the world works.

“We had a lot of fun together, the knowledge he imparted on me is priceless. He invested in his own spirituality, he wanted us to know ourselves better,” said.

He also noted that his father had played a big role in terms of how he (Imran) views the world.

“As human beings we tend to misunderstand people, but I think my father was simple. I, for instance, didn’t play soccer because I wanted to be the best football player, but rather because I was inspired by him, I saw his love for the game and that’s what attracted me to it.”

Now that his father is gone, Imran says he’s now getting time to try to understand his father even better.

“Now I feel like I can go out and get to really know what he was like when he was younger, his goals, etc. Some people understood him, others didn’t. Some, of course, disregarded him for what he stood for. So, I am trying to understand who he was, his politics and his world view.”

Former Radio personality, Dimitri Jegels, one of Ebden’s closest friends, described him as a giant who was also larger than life.

“He was also a champion of Africa, who loved this continent very well.”

“In fact, he was competitive in contact karate, where he went far in terms of participation. Besides spending time in Japan, where he developed his style of karate, Brian also owned a dojo in Bo-Kaap. That’s where he trained and developed the young up-and-coming karatekas,” he said.

Jegels described Brian as a generous man who loved his golf, soccer and to develop youngsters. In fact, Jegels said, it was his passion for football that saw Ebden becoming involved with the now-defunct Mother City FC, at one point one of only three clubs playing in the PSL.

“One of the players he nurtured was Thembinkosi “Terror” Fanteni, from Crossroads. Fanteni, who scored 75 goals in 82 matches for Mother City, went on to play for Ajax Cape Town, Maccabi Haifa in Israel and Orlando Pirates. He also played for Bafana Bafana at the Confederations Cup in 2009,” he said.