Dr. Taunyane’s Passing Is A Great Loss To South Africa

Condolences continue to pour in for the family of the legendary football administrator Dr. Leepile Taunyane, who will be remembered as one of South Africa’s finest sons.

Dr. Taunyane who passed on last week was born on 14 December 1928 in the Free State Province, and when his was still a child his family moved to Alexandra, Johannesburg.

His funeral service was held on Sunday, November 3, 2013 in Alexandra.

A Premier Soccer League (PSL) statement reads: “It is with sadness and regret that we inform you of the passing of the PSL Life President, Dr Leepile Taunyane.

Dr. Tauntane was a teacher by profession and one of the most distinguished soccer administrators in South Africa.

He served the football fraternity in various leadership roles since the 1970s, including as President of the Transvaal Football Association (1974-85), Alexandra Football Association (1959-80), Vice-President of the South African National Football Association (1978-1985), Chairman of the National Soccer League (NSL 1985-93) and chairman of PSL (1996-2001).

He was also made an honourary life member of the South African Football Association.

PSL Chairman Dr. Irvin Khoza said in his words of condolences,  “My teacher, mentor and later colleague, Leepile Taunyane is no more,” Dr. Khoza noted in a statement.

“He was admitted to hospital on Saturday after experiencing difficulty in breathing.

“I paid him a visit at Brenthurst Clinic. It was midday when I arrived. He was in the Intensive Care Ward. His eyes were permanently shut with the only movement occurring in his chest area as he was breathing with the aid of a machine.

“I softly spoke to him, like I have done in the last 50 years, when I needed his counsel. About five minutes into my talking to him, the monitoring machines’ alarm started flashing, an indication the
nurse told me of brain activity.

“I could not help feeling this was the last time I was talking to him.

“He was cleanly shaven and looked so peaceful. When you have known someone closely for 50 years, like I have known Dr Taunyane, you develop an inexplicable connection that is radiant.

“He was one of a kind. He gave education a good name. A man of integrity, he dedicated his life to serve the nation selflessly.”

Safa president, Dr. Danny Jordaan described the late Taunyane as a true giant of South African football.

Dr Jordaan further commented that Dr. Taunyane’s death came as shock to the football family and the void he leaves will be difficult to fill. “We have lost a true giant and founding father of South African football. He served in many capacities whether within Safa or the PSL. This man was a loyal servant of the game.”

The Safa president noted that he remembers the late Taunyane for his unassuming and calm demeanour, insightfulness and great wisdom, especially during difficult times.

Furthermore, Dr. Taunyane was instrumental in the introduction of the Charity Cup, an event whose proceeds helped several charity organisations across the country.

“He was the bridge-builder of social challenges and football,” Jordaan added.

“He used the beautiful game to make a contribution to the social needs of societies. This is the man who helped football build its first own stadium, something that was prohibited by the apartheid regime.

Dr. Taunyane was active in other fields but especially in education.

He was a board member of the Alexandra Business College from 1991, President of the Professional Educators Union, Chairman of the National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa and a Director of Naspers Limited.

Previous positions he held include Principal of Katlehong High School 1976 – 1993; Principal of Alexandra High School 1960 – 1975 and Deputy Chair of Alexandra Liaison Comm.

Photo Credit: http://www.sowetanlive.co.za/sport/2012/07/02/lekgwathi-packs-cabinet#2

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