23 May 2011
South Africa’s Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is a huge Tottenham Hotspur fan. Last Wednesday, the club presented him with a copy of the Tottenham Hotspur Opus ahead of its participation in the 2011 Vodacom Challenge in July.
The presentation took place at the historic Liliesleaf Farm, a hideout of African National Congress (ANC) activists in the 1960s, where many of the organisation’s leaders were arrested in 1963.
Bafana Bafana defender Bongani Khumalo, who joined Spurs from SuperSport United in January, took part in the handover, as did Club Ambassador, former England international Gary Mabbutt.
Tottenham executive director Donna Cullen presented the Opus to the Deputy President, who has been a fan of the club since it first visited South Africa way back in 1963.
‘This is a gift of a lifetime’
He told the Tottenham Hotspur website about his love for Spurs and thanked them for their gift. “This is a gift of a lifetime,” said Motlanthe. “I really feel honoured to receive this Spurs Opus on a special day for us in South Africa when we are having local government elections.
“When that great Spurs team came to SA, under the captaincy of Danny Blanchflower and managed by Bill Nicholson, it just left a lasting impression on me,” Motlanthe said.
“There were great players there like Jimmy Greaves, Cliff Jones and Dave Mackay, and they are legends, and since then I have always followed Spurs through the different managers and different generations, and I think the current generation come very close to emulating that ’60s generation.”
The Spurs Opus charts the club’s full history and includes exclusive interviews, photoshoots and features, plus a rich array of rare and previously unpublished archive photos.
Only 1 000 copies of the Spurs Opus have been published. Each book measures over half-a-metre square and weighs over 30 kilograms.
Spurs has a solid presence in South Africa. It operates a joint academy with SuperSport United and is involved in several charity and community-based initiatives.
Since 2007 the club has announced three separate partnerships with SuperSport United, the PSL champions from 2008 to 2010, children’s orphan charity SOS Children’s Villages, and South African specialist bank and asset manager Investec.
Tottenham Hotspur House
Three years ago the club officially opened the doors to the Tottenham Hotspur House in the SOS Children’s Village in Rustenburg. The house, which is funded using money from player fines, is now home to a family of children all in full-time education.
Members of the current First Team also sponsor orphans in the village as part of the club’s work with the charity. In July last year Michael Dawson met 12-year-old Aubrey, the orphan he sponsors at the village in Rustenburg, and experienced firsthand the impact of the club’s relationship with SOS Children’s Villages.
Spurs’ joint academy with SuperSport United has produced a successful coach and player exchange programme with academy players visiting the UK for training and tournaments.
Khumalo to Spurs
After impressing in the Fifa World Cup in South Africa last year, Bongani Khumalo, Supersport United’s captain, joined Tottenham in January.
Previously, in July 2010, Investec became Spurs’ first ever cup shirt sponsor. The South African company’s name and logo features on the club’s playing shirts in all cup competition matches including European club competitions, FA Cup and League Cup.
South Africa has also become an important destination for the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. For the last two years, the Foundation and teachers from Haringey Council’s Children and Young People’s Service have embarked on an educational exchange trip to South Africa working in partnership with both SuperSport United and SOS Children.
Tottenham in 2011
Heading into the final weekend of the English Premier League, Spurs are in fifth place. Should they beat relegation-threatened Birmingham at White Hart Lane on Sunday, they will secure a place in the Europa League next season.
Playing in the Champions League this season, Tottenham topped Group A, ahead of defending champions Inter Milan after qualifying for the group stage by beating Swiss side Youngs Boys in a playoff.
In the round of 16, Spurs ousted newly crowned Italian champions AC Milan 1-0 on aggregate after scoring a shock 1-0 victory in Milan.
They exited the competition in the quarterfinals at the hands of Real Madrid.
Tottenham Hotspur and SAinfo reporter
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