13 March 2018

South Africa: Remembering Albert Johanneson, the Man South African Soccer Forgot

analysis

Albert Johanneson, a son of South African soil, was a trail-blazer for black players - not just from his country of birth, but from the continent. Yet little has been done to preserve his legacy in the country of his birth. By ANTOINETTE MULLER.

Reports on which date exactly Albert "Hurry Hurry" Johanneson was born differs slightly. Some say 12 March, others 13 March. His official gravestone says the 12th, but many chronicles of his life puts it down as the 13th. How old he was when he died in 1995 is also disputed at times. But these are minor details.

All reports agree: Johanneson was a trail-blazer, an incredible footballer and he died under terribly tragic circumstances. At the time of his death, he was alone, penniless and had fallen victim to alcoholism. By the time his body was found, he had been dead for a week.

Succumbing to the bottle is a fate familiar to many professional sports people, but jarring when considering the impact the winger had on the game and the foundations he laid for future generations.

Johanneson joined Leeds United in 1961, after being recommend to the club by a school teacher who spotted him...

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