Friends and family bid farewell to Safa Cape Town head of administration, Elton Lotriet, 45, from Fairways, who was to rest following a funeral service at the Phoenix New Apostolic Church, in Milnerton, last week.
The well-respected soccer official died recently after losing his battle against cancer.
“Elton had a great sense of humour and a huge smile that I miss the most,” said his long-time partner Deidre Johnson. The two met 24 years ago while employed at the Department of Transport.
“He was a humble, compassionate, loving person with a heart of gold. He was a mentor to many, a friend to all and a passionate human being.
“He was loved by all his peers, always motivating and encouraging others to achieve their goals. He seldom got angry and always saw the best in everyone,” she said.
Friends in soccer circles, including Safa Cape Town president Bennett Bailey, agrees.
“I’ve known Elton for years, first as the secretary of Cape District and as a referee. I was the secretary of Rygate LFA and our interaction was inevitable,” said Bailey, who worked closely with Lotriet on football matters.
“In 2018, he was elected as Safa Cape Town General Secretary and he was our head of administration and looked after our assets.”
Bailey said what stood out for him was Lotriet’s ability to be humble and his caring nature.
He said despite Lotriet’s battle with cancer, which was first discovered in 2019, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, he continued to serve and didn’t care about time.
“Covid brought the best out of Elton. He turboed us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and our organisation survived to record a profit, while most other civil society organisations recorded losses.
“Even our coaching courses benefited and as Boebie Solomons would say, we are leading. All of this thanks to Elton.
“I live about 50km away from his house and he wouldn’t hesitate to call on me and engage me on outstanding matters,” he said.
“In the run-up to the 2022 National Elective Congress, the cancer became aggressive and Elton’s health took a bad turn,” Bailey said.
“He showed his commitment and the objection not to be disengaged and to steal Deidre’s expression, he refused to vegetate. That means that he wanted to continue being involved up to the day that he could not anymore.
“The visit to Elton with the staff on June 13 and his subsequent chat with me in the early hours of June 14 indicated to me that he felt that he had run his race. That message in the early hours of the morning says it all.
“The minister is about to announce the total relaxation of the Covid regulations and thank you Elton for pulling us through,” said Bailey.
Speaking on behalf of the family, Lotriet’s younger brother Jason fondly recalls getting red-carded by his brother during a soccer match.
“My father Dudley was a professional footballer in his day and became a coach later.
“He set us on the path. Elton got into refereeing because we admired the game and the man in the middle who controlled the game,” said Lotriet, a former professional player with stints at Kaizer Chiefs and Ajax Cape Town.
“He had a passion for administration and used that to develop and change football from within Cape District and later at Safa. He advanced the systems and is admired by his colleagues and the western Cape football community, he said