The True Son Of Africa's Legacy Lives On...
This week Standard General takes a look at the life of the late Ted Dumitru.
Born on 2 September 1939 in Bucharest, Romania, Theodore Dumitru started playing football for his local team, Sportul Studenţesc, before suffering a devastating knee injury that brought his playing career to an abrupt end. He began studying to become a coach and, after attaining his licence, became the youngest head coach ever to coach in the Romanian Divizia A (now Liga I) at the age of 25.
It was only in 1986 that Dumitru truly found his true home when he joined Kaizer Chiefs and spent two years with the club, winning eight trophies, before moving onto – yet again – aid in the development of players and coaches across the country. One of the most notable achievements during that spell was his work in the establishment of the Esselen Park School of Excellence in Tembisa that produced players such as Steven Pienaar and Daine Klate.
In 1997, he returned to the dugout, taking charge of Mamelodi Sundowns, where he won the 1998 and 1999 PSL titles, as well as the BobSave Superbowl and the Rothmans Cup. Unsuccessful spells at Manning Rangers and Orlando Pirates preceded a spell with the Namibian national team, but he found himself back on the Sundowns bench in 2001, helping the club reach that season’s CAF Champions League final, which they lost to Al Ahly.
Amassing 18 trophies with Chiefs and Sundowns saw Dumitru affectionately nicknamed ‘The Professor’, due to his clever approach to coaching, and the sight of him in his trademark peak cap.
The three decades that he graced our sidelines will forever be imprinted in the memory of every South African football fan. The Romanian was truly a son of Africa and the hundreds of players and coaches that he developed over the years can attest to that. Even long after his memory has faded from our minds, his legacy will endure.
May 'Mr Magic's' soul rest in peace.