Ottoman’s success is rooted in club legacy, says chairman

Ottoman Player of the Year and Overall Best Bowler of the Year, Josh Savage, right, receives his trophy from Proteas batsman Farhaan Behardien, who hails from the Ottomans.

Ottoman Cricket Club, one of the oldest cricket club’s in South Africa, held its season-end awards at the KAAF Trust Palestine Museum in Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock, on Saturday April 14.

More than 300 guests attended the function, including the Turkish ambassador to South Africa, Elif Comoglu Ulgen; chief executive of Element Investments, Anwah Nagia; Proteas batsman Farhaan Behardien, and Sybil Howa, the wife of the late Hassan Howa (after whom the Ottoman Clubhouse is named).

At the ripe old age of 136 years, the Ottoman Cricket Club is the third oldest cricket club in the province and the seventh oldest in South Africa. However, it is arguably the oldest previously disadvantaged cricket club in the country.

The chairman at Ottoman Cricket Club, Fareed Abrahams, said the club derived its name from the great Ottoman Empire. He said it was founded in 1882 by Abdullah Agmat, in the Bo-Kaap area of Cape Town.

Abrahams said the late Agmat was a student of the renowned Turkish scholar, Abubakr Effendi, who was sent to the Cape by the Ottoman Empire to guide and instruct Muslims on matters pertaining to Shariah, the Islamic Law. A few years after Effendi started the Cape Town Ottoman Muslim School, he died in 1880.

Two years after his death, the Ottoman Cricket Club was established. The club currently plays its home matches at the Diamant Street Facility, Surrey Estate, in Athlone.

Abrahams said over the years the club had produced many provincial and national players at various levels, including Wasfee Samsodien (SA under-19) and Farhaan Behardien (the current South African Proteas batsman).

Abrahams said the club was third on the WPCA Premier Division log, boasting the top wicket-taker, the third highest wicket-taker and third highest run scorer.

“Newcomer to the club, Josh Savage, walked away with the Premier League Team Best Bowler, Overall Best Bowler and Player of the Year awards. Josh took a total of 50 wickets in the seven games the club played and ended second on the WPCA Bowling Log.

“His bowling figures were 50 wickets for 495 runs, with an average of 2.43 runs per over and 9.9 runs per wicket. His performance includes no fewer than six 5+ wicket hauls, with the best performance being against Milnerton CC where he bowled 25 overs on the trot and took 5 wickets for 25 runs,” said Abrahams.

“Stalwart and first team captain Taariq Behardien scooped up the Premier League Team Batting Award, Overall Best Batsman Award, Players’ Player of the Year Award and Sportsman of the Year. Taariq’s best performance was against Western Province CC in a match on their home grounds where he scored 113.

“This has been achieved through the efforts of players wanting to be a part of the Ottoman family, without being paid. For them, donning the Ottoman Cricket Club logo is sufficient reward at the end of the day,” said Abrahams.

The Most Improved Player Award went to Anees Adams, Most Promising Player Award went to Imraan Abrahams, stalwart Exmo Member Anwar Nassiep walked away with the Chairman’s Award and the Team of the Year Award went to the Premier League Team.

Recognised at the function were Muneer Enos for his 131 not out against Hanover Park, Imraan Abrahams for his 108 against Mfuleni, Matthew Parks for his five-wicket haul against Langa, Mujahid Isaacs for his five-wicket haul against Milnerton, Sadiek Davids for his seven-wicket haul against WPCC, Daghlaan Fakier for his 5-wicket haul against Cape Town CC, Zubair Adams for his six wicket haul against Elsies River CC, Abdullah Doutie for his five-wicket haul against Hanover Park and Imtiyaaz Salie for his six-wicket haul against Langa CC,” said Abrahams.

“On the field we, of course, want our first team and second team to continue competing in the top leagues and even go on to win their respective leagues. In achieving this there are opportunities like the club championships competition and the Hong Kong sixes that they could participate in.

“Off the field, our top priority is the completion of the clubhouse project, which encompasses a multi-purpose sports centre.

“The idea is to create a legacy with the Ottoman name that brings communities together and a place where the youth can have alternative options to explore and also be safe from the dangers they face on a daily basis,” said Abrahams.