Sport on by Mogan Segadavan
THE Northern Areas LFA had its annual prize-giving function last Friday.
Many of the guests may have been surprised that the guest of honour was not some well-heeled or politically well-connected individual (that is the trend with most organisations these days) but a salt of the earth former player.
Bravo Jacobs was arguably the most gifted sportsman in the Northern Areas and excelled in both soccer and cricket
Starting to play senior football at the tender age of 15 in South End Jacobs was a born leader, captaining every team he played in from local amateur clubs, to professional clubs, to national teams in cricket and soccer.
Jacobs had the rare distinction of captaining three national teams – SA Soccer Federation, SA Industrial League and SA Cricket Board.
He captained the Eastern Province team which won the Howa Bowl (the non-racial equivalent of the Currie Cup) for the first time.
Jacobs played for the SA Invitational cricket team alongside legends like Barry Richards, Eddie Barlow and Clive Rice against the International Wanderers which included the Chappel brothers, Dennis Lillee and Collis King.
For playing with and against white players Jacobs fell foul of Saco’s double-standards policy – no normal sports in an abnormal society. But Jacobs was no politician – all he wanted was to play the game he was so passionate about, wherever, whenever and with whoever. He still plays cricket more than 50 years after first turning out.
At last week’s function Jacobs, in his own inimitable way, bemoaned the fact that very few youngsters were interested in sports administration. Many administrators are forced to stay on because there is no one to fill their shoes.
He also admonished youngsters for their lack of dedication and commitment to sport. He even chided a youngster who went up to the stage to receive an award with his shirt hanging out.
Jacob related how in his day no training meant being dropped from the squad for the weekend.
The night before matches players gathered at the house of one of the managers and stayed indoors. A night out at the Alabama which was the only night club then – it had the biggest dance floor in the country – was out of bounds. Today youngsters are only too glad when they are dropped – it simply means more party-time.
Will the Jacobs-era ever return?