Plans afoot to honour Pops Chetty

Plans are afoot with the organising of a local football tournament to honour the late politician Pops Chetty who also owned the Real Taj Mahal Hotel and the Real Taj football club.
With great admiration for Pops and his brother Nine, for their outspoken, yet humble, approach, the Chetty brothers, despite being formidable businessmen, were always available to assist the local community.
Pops, as a true politician, was well versed and managed to bring about change locally through sport and his political influence. With a hands-on approach and never one to shy away, he frequently clashed with the apartheid government.
The Chetty’s local professional soccer team, the popular Real Taj that was affiliated to the old SA Football Federation League and later to the National Soccer League (NSL) was also a true tool of democracy and genuine struggle.
This was evident when soccer organisations – like the PFL, NPSL – transcending the racial barriers in SA came together to form one democratic body. The PFL had sides such as Santos, Taj, Maritzburg United, Cape Town Spurs and others.
The NPSL had SA crowd pullers like Orlando Pirates, Kaizer Chiefs, Moroka Swallows LTD, AmaZulu, just to count a few.
The old White League (excuse the pun) had hard tackling and no- nonsense teams such as Wits University, Arcardia Shepperds, Highlands Park, Lusitano, Durban City and many more.

Pops-Chetty (Custom)
When all the different racial groups joined forces under the banner of the NSL, it was impossible and difficult to accommodate all the affiliates from these organisations, but the local Real Taj FC was one of the teams that made the cut.
Why? South African influential figures like Cyril Kobus, Kaizer Motaung, George Thabe, Abdul Bhamjee, Goolam Allie, Norman Elliot, Eddie Lewis, Coloured Passmore and other heavyweights, were aware of Chetty’s capabilities.
All these guys knew that Chetty was going to challenge them from all angles, legally, financially and politically.
It was unfortunate that when Chetty passed away, the “apparent” soccer big wigs, local political stalwarts, even some community members, his former employees and many Taj United players failed dismally to offer him a proper send off.
It is also heart breaking that even nowadays some politicians, local soccer administrators and businessmen from his neighbourhood still speak volumes about him, yet they failed him on his last day on earth.
Finally, I salute those involved in organising the soccer tournament to honour Chetty.
“All the best guys! I just hope and honestly pray hard that potential sponsors, funders, partners and especially, government departments, will come on board to make it a success because Pops deserves the best,”.

  AUTHOR
Jerry Barnes

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