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Supporters Club

George Koumantarakis And The Greek South Africans

This past weekend, we celebrated Heritage Day. The beautiful thing about our country is that it is made up of many weird and wonderful cultures, and today you will be hearing about all different kinds in Supporters Club.

We will start with mine. I am informally known as a Greek South African, but I have a Zimbabwean mother. My father grew up in Cyprus and apparently came to know a man there who was the father of ex-Bafana Bafana striker George Koumantarakis.

Apparently, as children, they used to play football in the street. My father must have been in his twenties while "Big George" was a child, but legend has it that he could hold his own in the street games that they used to play in knee-deep snow in Greece.

Fast-forward a few years, and my father and I would make a point of watching all of Big George's games. We followed him from Manning Rangers to SuperSport United. He gave us a lot of pride in the Greek South African community, that we could have someone representing us.

Greeks are mad about soccer. They talk a lot, they like to sit in barber shops and cafes and talk about football. Big George gave us a massive point of pride to talk about, he was like a son to all in the community.

It is unfortunate that he never got to shine through his full potential for Bafana Bafana. However, at the time, he had to compete with the likes of Benni McCarthy, Quinton Fortune, and Sibusiso Zuma, to name just a few. Wow! What an incredible team that was. I was just happy that Big George made the team at all.

I've never been prouder to be Greek and I've never been prouder to be South African.

Thank you for letting me share a bit of my heritage with you.

How does your heritage relate to football?

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