You Know You Played at Tech Grounds when…..Memoirs of a Bootboy


THE TECH GROUND DAYS.What special Memory do you have of this place

Me and my bro.Before heading off to play for Tigers Under 10. July 1985
Me and my bro.Before heading off to play for Tigers Under 10. July 1985

I stepped into Regal Jewellers the other day and had a long chat with Zaheer Regal about the good old days.Ok I am getting old but lets be honest,those were the days. It was about wanting to play soccer and looking forward to the rivalries that existed with local clubs…..and as a kid growing up and playing at Tech Grounds we wanted to emulate the senior players. But the vibe was just different.A Sunday was a whole days affair. And you want to know whats ironical is that Tech Grounds was probably one of the worst pitches or fields ever.It was made up of stones and sand and well I guess you cant even call it was brown and definitely not grass.Yet we etched out some of our greatest memories in this place. How could we forget the Wors Roll stand and for 5 bucks you get a coke and one of the finest Wors rolls around.It just went down, Or how could we forget the aunty that sold the ice quinchies.It came in some hectic looking packet but it went down.
As a lity I started playing for Tigers.I so wanted to play soccer and you had to be under ten.So my toppie took me to Power Lines and with Doc Abu Seedat being my family myself,my bro and Yazeed Seedat signed up. The training, the feeling and the thrill of wearing your soccer boots from home straight on to the pitch.Oh yes I started with Adidas Scorer from my grandfathers shop.The boot must have been about R40. And if we wanted to emulate a legend than the only one that was expensive was the PUMA Maradona. Speaking of Maradona ,my bro and I used to watch Hero every Sunday before a game…..and get dedicated.
The heroes of the time were Maradona,Francescoli,Rummenige,Lineker,Sokrates,Platini and the likes.But what a video sends goose bumps down your spine


Me and Nazo.Same team.Tigers Under 10



Me in 2005,playing for Dynamos. This pic made the City Vison newspaper

Sundays then were different. In Steven Gerards autobiography he writes about a part where Liverpool were 3-0 down in Istanbul.he says in so many words that you are 3-0 down against AC Milan in Istanbul…..and then you see a guy like Jamie Carragher who wears his heart on his sleeve,battling on as if a miracle was still possible,A guys who is a scouser true and true,fighting on and urging the lads that its not over. A guy like that just motivates you.
Speaking of passion in those days our peers certainly had it.I don’t think you will find individuals like Dr Abu Seedat,Late Uncle Ebrahim Adam from Tigers and my late Uncle Ismail Kola from Lesco and so many other honourable candidates that did so much for soccer when we were kids. They were the first on Tech Grounds and always the last to leave and they did it to make every kids dream come true.Yes we never had the 5 star facilities but if you talk about HEART than that era was Full of it.
I recall one incident when we watched my bro play Under 12’s for TIGERS once.We had a late night it was a knockout game against Swaraj.I was on the touch line with my toppie and my oom Zahier Mayet.My bro was giving 5%.From the pitch my oom tore at him.It came home on the table.He said If you play,play with heart…………not looking like that.Thats humiliating.Such was the soccer culture at home.

Later on we moved to Lesco with all the Alipors.Myself,Hoosain & Anees Mayet,Pops,Ebie,Riyad Loonat,Freds,Swaar, Ebie Moose and the chaps. On the move my oom Uncle Ismail Kola was thrilled. And when the big owes from Lesco came to watch us play we were thrilled. After the Wors Roll the Sundays stretched until Maghrib.It was time for our heroes ,The Senior Players.
After the Wors Rolls we went back to Uncle Ismail Kolas house,ignoring the calls to come home by our tannies. Yip all of us alipor lighties were the boot boys and kit lities.We packed the kits out in the garage,We knew all the numbers.Number 5 Big Moose,No 11 Zahier Mayet,No 8 Zahier Baba and number 10 Tall Freddy.Then we watched Papis draw on the chalkboard and dished out the kits.Now to the game. Jumping in the cars to the tune of LA BAMBA and Fine Young Cannibals she drives me crazy,the pre match hype was summed up.The rivalries were fierce,Tech Grounds surrounded by people.Everybody always waited for the Big Teams.Tigers,Lesco,Athletico.Fago,Belleview,Greyville City.Talent came from everywhere and I still believe that if there were opportunity players like my oom Zahier Mayet,Doc Moosajee,Zahier Baba,MF Jassat…and many more,too many to mention from the other teams as well would have went far.But ball that time was at a different level. I remember the Lesco Line Up. Imo Bassar in the sticks,Saffers,MF,Ebrahim Khalil Mayet (what a class centre back),Doc Moose,Zahier Baba (he made it look simple), Naseem Seedat,Zahier Mayet,Hchee,Abdus,Mansoor Abdullah,Aziz Jijo Dindar,Rozie,Soppies….Bellevue had the pacy winger Stevie, Eldo Sporting had China.Tigers had the Adams,Fordsburg City had the Akalwayas, and Lesco had the Alipors. Full support on a Sunday,Tech grounds was full. I remember the late Blikkies Bismilla saying once that a Lesco Halftime was like a Alipor Wedding
And when a game was fixture at the Lenasia Stadium under the Murky Lights it was the greatest thing ever.The Stadium was like Wembley.
So no doubt,The Players then were class,and in all honesty players we admired.They were our role models when we were younger.And their were individuals past and present that you can never duplicate.They made the TECH GROUNDS era Special.
And when you finally get home,blow out the dust from your nose,clear your throat,Fill up the tub,pour in Detol, pull down the cycling shorts and soak that grass or arse burn as it became known,pull out the stones…..…………………..YOU KNOW THAT YOU MADE THE BEST OF TECH GROUNDS.

This post is also a tribute to the men that did so much for development of football..Some of them may not be with us now but they will never be replicated.Late Uncle Ebrahim Adam from Tigers.Dr Aboo Seedat and late Uncle Ismail Kola from Lesco.Its the two teams I played for as a kid, and it was when football was special




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