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JOHANNESBURG — He was a Springbok footballer player of note and a champion bowler, Lithuanian-born Hymie Kloner died last week aged 81 following a brief illness.
He immigrated to South Africa with his parents as a youngster and played in four Test matches against the touring Australian team in 1950, spending a season in English football immediately afterwards with Birmingham City.
He was a sturdy, no-nonsense midfield player, who did not believe in taking prisoners and was equally effective on attack and defence.
Kloner was often a prominent figure in what was South African football’s biggest derby encounter of his era, namely, the needle clashes between Marist Brothers and Rangers at the Rand Stadium.
Ironically, while he made his name as a Marist Brothers player, he ended his career playing for arch-enemies Rangers after returning from England. He then turned his attention to bowls and became a leading light in this sport as well.
His daughter, Lesley, reveals that he remained fit and active until a couple of months before his death, making a point of running two miles daily.
“He played bowls as often as he could,” said Lesley.