Soccer fans are the most important cog in football, and too often they are taken for granted, especially in South Africa.
Professional football without the fans would become amateur football. Sponsors and the television companies only put their money into the game because of the fans, who they see as their customers and potential customers.
They are investing in football to access the fans, the size of a clubs sponsorship is directly related to the amount of fans that support the team.
Our site, This Is Football is here to serve you, the football supporter, and is dedicated to highlighting the fans. Your stories are the stories other fans can relate to, your problems, fears and happiness are generally shared by all the fans.
It is your stories we want to hear and it is your stories we want to share. Today we feature the story of Umar Mathir ….
My name is Umar Farouk Mathir, I’m a football fan, born in Johannesburg, South Africa, however, almost immediately after my arrival into this world, my parents relocated to Weenen, a very little town, in the KwaZulu Natal Midlands.
My parents raised me, along with my two older brothers, for 10 years, in that very tiny, small little farm town, where from a very young age, I learned to speak the language of IsiZulu very fluently, a very beautiful gift I still carry with me & it includes a Zulu accent with it, believe it or not, which has been a blessing in my life, along with many other blessings of course.
One of the biggest blessings, was growing up in a household, that supported African Football, which started off with my immediate family choosing Kaizer Chiefs as their favourite club, along with the multitudes of people around the country, who also supported and still support this flagship club of the country I live in (S.A).
Growing up in South Africa alone, was a blessing all on it’s own, and football-wise being in such a country, where at least two (if not more at the time) clubs were (some still are) so huge, that you’d swear some of these iconic club teams are from somewhere close to where you live, no matter which part of the country you live, had one not known better , as to where some of these clubs are based.
I confess, growing up, during a time when there was no Windows and colour screen computers at one stage, let alone the concept of even the most simple, basic mobile phone, was almost unthinkable or imaginable to most of us, I used to think Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates Football Clubs, were from Durban, as that was the closest city, from where we lived (Approximately 2 – 3 hours drive away) of S.A’s 3 biggest cities.
Moving to Johannesburg, almost a full 30 years ago, we moved here when I was just 10 years old, it’s when we started having more access to information, living in a newer bigger town, the whole entire experience was new for us, living close to a huge City in S.A now, bigger schools, bigger classrooms, more students, a much higher altitude, it was a huge challenge for me, which I found difficult at first, but eventually I adapted, my parents and siblings fitted in much more easier than I did, I guess I was the only one in the immediate family, who has found the transition tough.
Everything was overwhelming for me, even a different climate and weather patterns, to what I was originally used to, but also, with living in the bigger towns, I came to realise, around more people, we learn more, and tend to obtain information that we’d normally not have access to as children growing up in small towns and perhaps even rural areas.
Moving this side, one of the best bits of information I got, was finding out that the two most successful and popular Football Clubs of this country, were actually from, and based around Johannesburg ( Soweto ) , this, unbeknownst to my little self at the time, would become a catalyst for my journey, eventually, into learning more about, and practically supporting a South African Football club, not just watching from a (Albeit “black and white picture.”) t.v screen.
Without knowing it at the time, it was also going to become much easier for me, from a place like Johannesburg, to also learn about other African countries, which I know obviously know also have Giant Football teams in their midst.
I grew up with the single-track-mindedness, that EVERYTHING found, made, bought, or built in South Africa, is far better and superior to anything of it’s/their kind, anywhere else on this huge continent of ours.
I am now happy to say, a few decades later, I learned , know better, and am happy to have been proven WRONG!
How beautiful to know thay Africa is actually so huge, so different in some part, yet so similar in other parts, 54 (If not more) countries, so many people, different tribes, races too, here and there, languages, cultures, and lo and behold…. even Football clubs, teams, and associations across the continent.
I’m still learning, and although people sometimes assume I know too much with regards to African Football, I can sincerely and honestly say, I probably, barely even know 10% of what’s needed to be know, when it comes to this continentally, and also universally accepted sport. However, there are many people, who probably don’t even know, that they’re still lacking at least 95% or even up to 97% when it comes to knowledge of African Football, so vast is the sport, when you count it, and all it represents and encompasses, with all it different stakeholders, within this beautiful continent we all have found a home in.
This being said, limited as my knowledge still may seem to myself, I would still love to share what I already know, with so many people, who have not yet been fortunate as I have been, to experience certain things about the game, both at a domestic as well international level.
I have so many different, unique stories, to tell, facts to share, secrets to reveal, some will be eye-openers, some things I will be putting out here, will shock people, some things, I’m not sure if other people, who are not involved directly in soccer, know of, or will ever get to find out, but it will be interesting.
Obviously, with regards to certain experiences, I will NOT be naming clubs, & players, out of respect for this website, all stakeholders of the game locally and globally, as well as out of respect, to YOU, EVERY SINGLE one of you supporters of this beautiful game. The stories, when I do share them, bit by bit, are REAL, no sensationalism, no fabrications, no lies, however, I will have to protect the identity of club teams, as well as their players, and many are experiences from as distant as 20 years ago, so no need for me to be opening a can of worms, 20 years later.
The purpose of telling these stories of my experiences? Hopefully, apart from just making for an interesting read, is to mainly educate people, about certain things that did, and still do exist in our Football, people need to be warned of certain things unfortunately, and my hope is, by sharing my knowledge and experience I’ve gained so far as a “FAN” is to help make my fellow supporters more aware, more prepared, and more wiser, with of course, the hope that it can help people prepare themselves to have a safer, happier and more enjoyable / memorable experience, if and when they do go out for a live match day.
I hope I can do all of this, to all of you, the main element of the game of football, the biggest, component, or let’s say, the “REASON OF ALL REASONS” for the game of football… The “Supporter.”