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SA football history

Jomo Sono - Picture posted by blogger on the InternetThe Premier Soccer League, or PSL, as we know it today, owes its existence to the various changes football development has undergone in South Africa, some of them directly caused by the turbulence of the apartheid era.

The first documented football match in South Africa was held in 1862 and was played between two all-white teams, made up of civil servants and soldiers. However, it was only in 1879 that the first football club was established, the Pietermaritzburg County Football Club. The club was for whites only. In 1880 African and Indian soccer clubs were also founded.

The first football association, for whites only, was started in 1882 and had a league made up of four clubs. The number of clubs grew to 10 within a year. At this point integrated sport was banned by law.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) was established 10 years later, though it became known as the Football Association of South Africa (FASA) in 1956. This too was a whites only association.

A number of other associations were formed to represent the other racial groups in South Africa, most notably the Transvaal Indian Football Association (1896), the South African Indian Football Association (1903), the South African African Football Association (1932), the South African Bantu Football Association (1933) and the South African Coloured Football Association (1936).

In 1935, the Inter-race Soccer Board was formed by Africans, coloureds and Indians and the first official tournament between the three races was established, the Suzman Cup.

The next major development came in 1951. The South African African Football Association (SAAFA), the South African Indian Football Association (SAIFA) and the South African Coloured Football Association (SACFA) formed the anti-apartheid South African Soccer Federation (SASF).

A year later, the SAFA, still only representing whites, was admitted to Fifa. Fifa then put pressure on the association until, in 1956, the name was changed to FASA and the racist exclusionary clause was removed from its constitution.

It took another two years before the South African Bantu Football Association became affiliated with the FASA. Fifa then recognised that association as the sole governing body of football in South Africa.

Professional football had its start in 1959. The National Football League, the country’s first entirely professional club league, was established in that year and, again, was a league in which only whites could participate.

In 1961, Fifa back-tracked its decision and suspended the FASA, which led the association to include some black players within its own structure.

The SASF, which represented the black, coloured and Indian population, started its own association football league in that year. It was known as the South African Soccer League (SASL).

The year 1962 marked the appearance, short-lived, of the first black women’s football teams, including the Orlando Pirates Women’s Football Club and Mother City Girls.

However, 1962 also marked a tragedy. A total of 11 fans died at Jeppe Station, Johannesburg, following a Moroka Swallows vs Orlando Pirates derby at Natalspruit.

In 1963 the FASA announced that it would send an all-white team to the 1966 World Cup and an all-black team to the 1970 World Cup. The suspension was lifted by Fifa, but the euphoria didn’t last long. The FASA was suspended again in 1964. The SASF leadership was persecuted, arrested or banned.

Despite this the SASL ran until 1967, when it folded because of a lack of playing grounds. In 1969, however, the Federation Professional League was established.

The National Premier Soccer League was founded in 1971.

South Africa was formally expelled from Fifa in 1976 and the National Football League folded the next year.

In 1985 the breakaway National Soccer League (NSL) was launched in accordance with ant-apartheid principle.

In 1991 another tragedy hit South African football. In January of that year, 41 fans died in a melee during a Pirates vs Chiefs friendly at Oppenheimer Stadium, Orkney.

At the end of the year the four historically divided football bodies united and the new non-racial South African Football Association (SAFA) was formed.

The next year the SAFA was accepted back into Fifa and domestic football was reorganised along non-racial, democratic principles. South Africa re-entered international football and beat Cameroon 1-0 in their first international match.

The Premier Soccer League, the trading name of the National Soccer League, was established in 1996 by Irvin Khoza, Kaizer Motaung, Raymond Hack and Jomo Sono.

Manning Rangers were the first to be crowned champions of the PSL in 1997 when the Gordon Igesund-coached side stunned by winning the title ahead of a number of more fancied opponents.

From 1998 to 2000 the league was dominated by Sundowns, who pulled off a hat-trick of titles.

The league was made up of 18 teams but that number was reduced to 16 during the 2001/2002 season to avoid fixture congestion.

In 2001, Igesund moved to Orlando Pirates and helped the Buccaneers secure the title. The following season he moved to Cape Town-based Santos, and steered it to win the league title, thus becoming the first coach to win the championship with three different clubs.

Also in 2001, the worst disaster to ever hit South African football occurred. There was a crush of fans during an Orlando Pirates vs Kaizer Chiefs derby, resulting in the deaths of 43 fans.

In 2004, a match-fixing scandal rocked South African soccer. An investigation codenamed "Operation Dribble" was launched by the South African police in June 2004. More than 40 arrests were made, ranging from club bosses to match commissioners, referees and their assistants.

Kaizer Chiefs successfully defended their league title in 2005 after they won the prestigious trophy in 2004 for the first time in a decade.

The 2005/06 season saw Mamelodi Sundowns capturing the title for the fourth time.

In 2007, the PSL signed a television deal with SuperSport worth R1.6-billion. It is the biggest sporting deal in the history of South Africa, and it took the PSL into the top 15 ranked leagues in the world in terms of commercial broadcast deals.

Since its inception, the PSL has helped raise the standard of club soccer in South Africa, providing the sport with better media coverage and improved revenue through sponsorship deals.

It has also helped local players make their mark overseas, which was a privilege unavailable to players in the past because of the divided league system forced on the country by law.

* Information compiled from various sources on the Internet. If you feel anything has been misrepresented, send us an email at info@supersoccer.co.za

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