N.F.L. Soccer History 1960-1967

P rofessional Football in South Africa had a tempestuous start when the rebel movement did not at first get the affiliation to the controlling body of soccer in South Africa, the South African Football Association (S.A.F.A. ) that it had requested.

In spite of this setback, the Johannesburg club Rangers announced on 7th January 1959 that they were to turn professional. The officials of that club were Lubbe Snoyman and Syd Chaitowitz. Rangers were quickly followed by Arcadia, whose chairman was Dolf Stead, and Ted Wallace entered the ranks with Brakpan United. These officials met with Vivian Granger, then a journalist with the Johannesburg Sunday Express, in a small hut on a car sales lot and from that hut emerged the National Football League (N.F.L.).

Soon other clubs professed an interest in the League, including Bill McGarvie of Germiston Callies, Berea Park (Pretoria), Iscor, Van Der Bijl Park, Randfontein, Wanderers, Benoni and Southern Suburbs. In Durban, Topper Brown, Norman Elliot and Reg Johnson fought to produce Durban City and Durban United. This probably assured the success of the National League. Maritzburg Celtic bravely enterd the lineup and the League began in the middle of the 1959 season.

Only eleven games were played in that year and the pioneer teams were Arcadia Shepherds, Benoni, Brakpan, Germiston Callies, Durban City, Johannesburg City, Rangers, Southern Park (later Suburbs), Durban United, Maritzburg Celtic, Randfontein and Pretoria City.

Later the T.S.N.C. loaned it's name and support to the League and Mr. Dave Marais (M.P.) took over the chairmanship from Lubbe Snoyman. In 1960 the League was reinforced by the inclusion of Highlands Park and in 1962, Cape Town City, in an effort to make it a truly national competition, were persuaded to enter, to be followed in 1964 by the newly promoted Hellenic.

Bloemfontein made a big impact when the entered in 1963 and for two seasons threatened to be a power. But their efforts were not sustained and they were relegated. To create a national appeal Port Elizabeth City came in to start the 1964 season and in 1967 made history by being the first soccer team in South Africa to go fully professional, i.e. their players had no other jobs. It paid dividends that year when they won the League.

Many personalities were involved in the administration of the League, helping to make it a success: Billy Arnison (Brakpan), Paul Herisson (Durban United), Lucke Matus (Highlands Park), Jock Turnbull (Benoni), Eric Litchfield (journalist Rand Daily Mail), Willie Havenga, Meyer Kunovsky (Rangers), Jimmy Crossan (Port Elizabeth), Doolan Hoskins (Cape Town), Ernest Stein, Rowley Roderick (Bloemfontein), 'Toffee' Kalil (Bloemfontein), Dick Upton (Southern Suburbs) and Harry Sturisky (League Secretary) and many others.

Cups awarded by the N.F.L. included the B.P. League Trophy, the Knock-Out Cup, the National Shield, the Bowl Trophy and the Dave Marais Floating Trophy.

*Based on the Turnwrights N.F.L. Soccer Album

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N.F.L. Trophies

National Shield Castle Cup
B.P. League Trophy Dave Marais Floating Trophy

Viv Grainger Harry Sturisky
Topper Brown Norman Elliot
Paul Herrison Eric Litchfield