By Chris Totobela
During Heritage Month, we will look at local sporting heroes who have contributed to developing local sports. The first sports hero is one of the best footballers Makhanda has produced. His name is, Julian “Jubs” Loutz.
His football career started in 1980 when his former teacher at George Dickerson Primary School, Mr Meiring, convinced him to give up rugby for football. This was a good move as he started enjoying football and even captained the school’s team. They played against other schools around Makhanda, including St Andrews College, Graeme College and Andrew Moyake Public School.
His love for the game grew even more prominent when Mr Meiring asked them to clean and mark Fiddlers Green field for teams like Protea United. He then moved on to Mary Waters High School, where he excelled under the guidance of Mr. Hillian, who was also a Protea United player. Loutz was an outstanding and versatile player who played midfield and defence. It was unsurprising when he joined Protea United, where he made a name for himself.
His indomitable attitude on the pitch won him the hearts of the local football fans. He later left Protea United and joined Mary Waters Football Club, a local team ranked in the top five.
Loutz took only a short time to cement his position in a star-studded Mary Waters side. He finally hung up his boots at the age of 50. “I realised that I was getting slower and could no longer keep up with these youngsters who were much faster than me,” said Loutz.
Although he retired from playing, he did not disappear from the football scene altogether, as he assisted Mary Waters Secondary School as the head coach for a short period. He shared his views with Grocott’s Mail on the deteriorating state of local football. He says it is hard to train players because they need more discipline.
Loutz adds, “A lot of us have the game but are not being used by the local teams and schools. The teachers have a lot on their plate and won’t be able to help these youngsters.” He also says that while some may try to coach, they may need to gain the necessary skills.
He also added that youth today want to avoid going out and playing sports as they prefer to sit down with their play stations or play with their mobile phones. Protea United and Mary Waters came from the Coloured community and had a lot of gifted players who could compete against any team.
Loutz says it is so unfortunate that there are no more football teams in his area and that so many youths do not use their time wisely and choose to roam the streets instead. He believes that to rescue the ailing football, those involved should concentrate on the youngsters, nurture and develop them and give them the proper guidance.
Using veterans who played this game before by schools and local teams will help revive football and other sports codes.
Loutz has played in almost all the football grounds in Makhanda, including the home of local football JD Dlepu. He remembers how Dlepu used to be packed to the rafters and the vibrant atmosphere that the fans created. He says he is willing to share his football knowledge with any team as long as they are young.