SEDIBENG.- It is not less than a week since we laid one of the former soccer greats Johannes “Satch” Modise to rest, and TOUCHLINE has received another sad news that one of the former Safa Sedibeng, (formerly Safa Vaal) woman football administrators, Grace Tshabalala is also no more.
‘Ausi Grace’, as she was affectionately called in football circles, was one of the women who contributed to the development of football not only in Sedibeng but also in the country. She served football during the era when football was known as a men’s sport, but she was not intimidated by men.
TOUCHLINE still remembers, at one stage she was the only woman in the Safa Vaal Executive Committee.
When Coach Thulani “Japan” Mthimkulu broke the news to yours truly, TOUCHLINE, we immediately reflected on when it was not fashionable for women to lead from the front, but ‘Ausi Grace’ was never threatened by ‘men in suits’.
She was one of the few women football administrators who served our football with distinction. At one stage she was asked to serve on the CAF Women’s Committee when South Africa hosted the Women’s African Cup of Nations which was won by Nigeria.
However, the sad part is that people like Ausi Grace, Satch Modise, and others were never recognised for their contribution to our football. One of these days, I will stand up at a funeral and tell mourners just to SHUT UP!, because they failed the former greats while they were still alive.
Too much was said at Bra Satch’s funeral but the reality is that we all failed him when he was still well and strong. Here we are talking about the only Vaal former Vaal professional player who was selected and played for the South African Black X1 Squad.
If it wasn’t written in his obituary, I doubt many people would have been aware of this. There is too much talk at the funerals of these former football greats but we never appreciate them while they are still alive.
We never even honour them as a community for making Vaal proud.
It was the same thing at Bra Satch’s funeral, over the weekend, with people talking about how he was a deadly striker and represented our country with distinction during the apartheid era when he was selected for the South African All Blacks X1 Squad. Ausi Grace Tshabalala, just like those before her, was forgotten as though she never got involved in our football.
As the Vaal people, we should be ashamed of ourselves for failing to recognise people who used to make us happy.
We are nothing but hypocrites. We are a sick society, with no morals!
R.I.P Ausi Grace, Vaal’s football history will never be written without your name being mentioned.