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RAVI Pillay was amongst the recipients of the Muslim Vision 2020 awards that were held in Durban recently to honour sporting greats in the Indian community in conjunction with the commemoration of the 150 years since the arrival of the indentured labourers in South Africa.
He made his mark as a footballer and coach who started his professional soccer career with Maritzburg United in 1982, then joined Durban City in 1987 and he also becoming part of the Amazulu FC in 1989 until he retired from professional football in 1991.
In 1992 he was player coach for Royal Tigers and won them promotion into the National Soccer League (now Premier Soccer League).
The Witness caught up with Pillay in Mountain Rise where he lives with his wife Farahna and two daughters Terraneh and Terieal.
At 47, Pillay now works as Production Manager at Trox SA.
“I felt really humbled to be nominated as one of the awardees, especially being a soccer player amongst such past greats like Bob Pillay and Thiri Rampath, who were legendary in their days,” said Pillay.
He said it was also an eye opener for him to know how many sporting greats the Indians had in those days — for example, the likes of Papwa Sewgolum was a legendary golfer.
“To meet ex footballers was also very exciting for me, with names like Daya Maistry, Vincent Pillay and Vicki Vally,” said Pillay.
He said although former football greats like Rama Moodley and Biggs Chetty were not nominated in those awards, they made a meaningful contribution to football for the Indian community in Pietermaritzburg.
“My life after football has been fantastic having been married for 17 years to my wife.
“My family was tremendously supportive of my soccer career then, and now they are still very much part of everything I do,” he said.
He said football these days is highly competitive and attracts a lot of commercial interest.