The contribution of former veteran football administrator and community activist, the late Samuel (Sam) Khan to sports development and community upliftment in the Grassy Park area is so enormous that a campaign is to be launched to rename a local key sports complex after him, writes RAY WOLF.
Referring to the campaign, former president of the South African Football Association (SAFA) Western Province Region and former president of the Grassy Park area’s South Peninsula Football Association (SPFA), Vernon Seymour, said: “I intend to lobby the local sub-council, with the support of our sporting community in Grassy Park, to rename the Rooikrantz sports fields as the Sam Khan Sports Complex. This was a principled man who understood the value of building our community.” Highlighting Khan’s role, in the late 80s, in the countrywide discussions that led to the unification of South Africa’s various sporting codes and formation of its National Sports Council, Seymour said Khan had been the Grassy Park area’s leader in the process.
“So much of what (development) you see today at Grassy Park’s Rooikrantz Sports Fields is the footprint of Sam Khan,” added Seymour.
When the Grassy Park Sports Council – a Western Province Sports Council affiliate – was formed, Khan was its first chairperson and Seymour its first general secretary, according to the latter.
Seymour explained that the discussions process had culminated in the South African Sports Olympic Committee (SASCOC).
“Because I was there during that period, I saw the man’s commitment to his community and his absolute conviction to sports development and youth development, which will contribute to a better life for our communities,” said Seymour, who added: “Later when he was nominated as president of SPFA, he asked me to avail myself as his general secretary, which I did. And when I became president of SAFA Western Province, I asked him to serve as chairperson of its disciplinary committee.”
SAFA Cape Town regional executive committee member, chairperson of the Rooikrantz MFC, and chairperson of Square Hill United Football Club, Terrence Hermanus also paid tribute to Khan at his graveside.
Speaking to the Southern Mail, Hermanus said: “I’m just paying my last respects on behalf of our membership at the SPFA. Mr Khan was on the administration side of South Peninsula (football association) those years while I was still playing at South Peninsula.
“I played for Burnley and De Luxe football clubs. He was also chairperson of, firstly Peninsula United at SPFA, and also chairperson of Square Hill United there.”
The ANC’s Southern Suburbs Parliamentary Constituency Office also paid tribute to Khan in describing him as a great inspiration to young people to excel in sport and to fight for a better society during the darkest days of apartheid.
“We will never forget the tremendous contributions he made to bring about the development of sports and sports infrastructure that young people will enjoy for generations to come. We hope that the sporting community will one day honour the memory of Comrade Sam by naming some important sporting event or place after him,” said ANC Member of Parliament and the Southern Suburbs Parliamentary Constituency Office Judy Hermans.
Khan’s daughter Carol Lucas told the Southern mail her father was born on June 19, 1931, to Chan Khan and Ada Khan and had been one of seven siblings which included three boys and four girls.
“He attended a boarding school that was run by the Catholic Church in KZN. He then moved to Cape Town at the age of 19 when he changed to Christianity and was baptised in the Catholic Church. Sam then met Sarah Cathleen Smith and they married in 1958 on January 11.” Lucas said her parents had raised five children, four girls and a boy.
Khan was buried on Monday July 26 at Muizenberg Cemetery, following a funeral service at Grassy Park’s Queen of Pearl Roman Catholic Church and an earlier memorial service.