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The Jewish Report Editorial

The triumph of Dean Furman

  • GeoffEditorial
“Mir klib’n nachas!” would be an appropriate Yiddish expression of South African Jews’ pride at seeing 26-year-old Dean Furman captain the South African national soccer team Bafana Bafana last weekend in its game against Sudan in Durban, which they won 2-1. “Kol hakavod!” would do it in Hebrew.
by GEOFF SIFRIN | Nov 19, 2014

At the stadium Furman was greeted by a large crowd with "Mluuuungu" and "Deeeeaan" during the opening stages of the game.

Our front page picture illustrates not only the exhilarating sense of triumph emanating from Dean himself, but also symbolises South African Jewry’s joy at once again having a national sports champion rise from its ranks. He is the latest in a string of well-known Jewish sportsmen who have excelled in various sports over the years: rugby, tennis, golf, cricket, swimming, marathon running, canoeing, horse racing, motor racing and others. Numerous Jews have shone in top soccer teams.

Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba's men guaranteed qualification for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations with their win last weekend.

There was also a sad tinge to Furman being named Bafana Bafana captain. He replaced the immensely popular former captain Senzo Meyiwa, who was tragically shot dead in a robbery in Vosloorus two weeks ago at the home of his girlfriend’s mother, an event which left the country heartbroken.

Furman was born in Camps Bay, Cape Town on June 22, 1988. As a professional footballer who plays for English club Doncaster Rovers as a midfielder, he was first selected for South Africa’s national team squad in September 2012, making his debut against Brazil.

Becoming a sports champion or any other champion takes a lot of things coming together aside from intrinsic talent - such as mentors, opportunities, fortuitous encounters and so on. Ultimately though, the most indispensable ingredient is the inner engine in a person - the determination and grit that drives him or her to keep going through thick and thin, successes and failures, always aiming for the top.

Dean has it in bucketfuls. And a team sport like soccer means that without genuine camaraderie and dedication from all the players working together as a cohesive team, success cannot come.

In this too we are entitled to glow with pride at this new country of ours in which a white Jewish man from Cape Town is loved and accepted by a largely black team in a predominantly black-dominated sport. The photographs one sees everywhere of Dean in action on the field with his teammates shows their bond. How different this is from the bad old apartheid days when soccer was separated into different whites-only or blacks-only divisions, and stadiums had separate white sections and black sections for fans.

Madiba set the tone for reconciliation in the new country when he attended the World Cup rugby final in 1995, wearing a green and gold number 6 Springbok jersey - the jersey of Springbok captain Francois Pienaar - waving his arms to the crowd - and the world - from the centre of the pitch, standing next to Pienaar. Who can forget that iconic photograph of him with that broad smile, revelling in the triumph of the moment?

As Jews and South Africans we live in dark, dangerous times today. We need the exhilarating lifting of the spirit that comes with events such as Dean’s and Bafana Bafana’s triumph, and the fellowship between diverse people that sport brings.

Kicking a soccer ball around is a pervasive image all over the country. You see youngsters in every city, town and rural village doing it. Many fantasise about becoming a great soccer hero. But it’s a long way from kicking a ball with your buddies to captaining the national team and becoming a household name.

Dean Furman deserves every accolade we can give him. We are proud of and inspired by him. We wish him many more triumphs in the years ahead.  



Terror – the bluntest form of attack

 

The terrorist attack this week on a synagogue in Jerusalem in which four rabbis and a policeman were killed - aside from the two killers themselves - and others injured is yet another brutal example of the ongoing tragedy that plagues Israelis and Palestinians. Sadly, it seems as if the two peoples are teetering over the edge into yet another round of barbaric violence. The voices of peace, of those who still believe that coexistence is possible, seem to be growing fainter and fainter, while those of rage and retribution intensify.

Terrorism is the bluntest form of attack. It does not discriminate between people with different viewpoints, allegiances or lifestyles. Its victims may range from passionate pursuers of peace, all the way to intolerant militants.

It must be totally condemned by everyone who seeks a secure and safer future for the peoples of this blood-stained region. While it is essential that diplomats and leaders worldwide denounce this latest act, it is equally important - perhaps even more so - that Palestinians do so. Celebrating the terrorists who perpetrated this atrocity as “martyrs” will bring more tragedy not only to Israelis, but equally to Palestinians.

From our South African perspective, the most honourable thing for our local pro-Palestinian groups to do is also to condemn this barbaric act. Without that, any claim they might make of being peace-seeking, rings hollow. 

2 Comments

  1. 2 Rafique bharoochi 20 Nov
    Greetings to all.
    We all need to condemn all violence and we reguire all our jewish organizations to condemn violence esp.against palestinians no matter how difficult it may seem,but our jewish brothers in south africa can.
    Our condolence to al
  2. 1 Denis Solomons 20 Nov
    This will be bigger than Ali Bacher being the cricket captain of South Africa as soccer is the national sport of South Africa !

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