Apartheid era soccer legend Ace Ntsoelengoe passes away

Patrick Ace Ntsoelengoe
A few days ago I had written about the role that soccer played in the struggle against apartheid. But it was more an academic discourse and the article did not give it a face or a soul that makes such a struggle visceral or even personal. From Tony Karon’s blog we learn that one of South Africa’s legendary soccer players passed away last weekend, Ace Ntsolelengoe of the Minnesota Kicks and Kaizer Chiefs. Here is Tony’s moving tribute to Ace.
As Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung said this week, the skills of the back-to-back world footballer of the year, Ronaldinho, come closest to describing Ace’s style of play. Fans across the bridge at the Orlando West’s shanty ground, almost a kilometre from Ace’s stomping ground of Orlando stadium, would know when Ace was in possession, as the loud cries of “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace” carried out of the stadium. A trademark of his game was his sudden decision to simply walk with the ball at his feet while the game was being played at furious pace
In the course of perusing Peter Alegi’s article on soccer and apartheid in South Africa, a few other names cropped up. Dharam Mohan, Conrad Stuurman, Scara Sono, and Difference Mbanya.
Being from India, the name Dharam Mohan immediately caught my attention. A South African soccer player of Indian extraction!! He was the captain of Avalon Athletic, a racially integrated soccer club in Durban. From the little I could glean, he was also a player of extra-ordinary ability. As this letter from a former referee attests. I am curious to know about Indian soccer players in South Africa and their contribution to the struggle against apartheid. There seems to have been a number of Indian players in the South African soccer league like Bob Pillay, Sugar Singh, and Thiri Rampath. Curious is the virtual absence of a mention in the Indian press which is quick to trumpet every achievement of the Indian diaspora in sports. From Alexei Grewal to Vikash Dhorasoo to Mohini Bharadwaj.
So please write to Soccerblog if you have any more information about Dharam Mohan and other Indian soccer players in South Africa.

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7 comments on “Apartheid era soccer legend Ace Ntsoelengoe passes away
  1. And not forgetting Newcastle’s Michael Chopra…
    I have to add that Vikash being from Mauritius means we can also claim him for Africa! A Frenchman of two Diasporas!

  2. I read Shourin’s feature – very interesting. If you want to learn more about Indian soccer players in South Africa just read my book Soccer Through The Years 1862-2002.

  3. Thanks Peter,
    I see you can get the book through Amazon UK. The info on the history of soccer in SA should be well worth it.

  4. I have currently completed my research on the History of Curries Fountain, the soccer stadium in Durban which is the mecca of non racial football and the home of the Federation which was the non-racial soccer league with its begannings in the 1950’s. I am currently working on the History of the Federation, it formed with the merger of the Indian football association, coloured football association and part of the Bantu football association. Please email if you need info

  5. Dear Sir
    I am very interestd in your research into the history of Curries Fountain. My father Derrick Desplace played there as a goal keeper for Berea in teh early 60’s. I think it was Bereas home ground??? He has many cut outs, articles and pictures and we have heard many stories.
    My father along with Bernie Crowie, Errol Dunn, Stanley McTavish and a few others played there.
    We have resided in Australia for more than 28yrs now and our family are members of a SA Soccer Club (Buffers) We are hosting a National Tournament this year in Qld and teams will travel from SA, NZ and from each state in Australia. it is a soccer and cultural festival.
    I would love to recieve any data, history, research, article, photos of the above mentioned players and any other players of that era in particualr of my father Derrick Desplace. All this info may be collated and presented at this festival. We will be happy to inlcude any other soccer legends of that era.
    My dad played in the South African Soccer League the first multiracial league prior to the SASF.
    He also went on to Play representative cricket for Natal – at a local level he also played in a multiracial cricket legue -needless to say that came with many experiences (Both good and bad).
    I look forward to your repsonse or anyone elses information.
    Kind regards
    Brenda Desplace

  6. I have a group on Facebook called THE HISTORY OF NON RACIAL SOCCER. There are picture of Curries Fountain and articles,pictures of soccer teams of the Federation from the pass

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