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COSATU Today  |  Affiliates Press Statements

Tribute to Tommy the Unionist from SAFPU

19 October 2012

The South African Football Players Union (SAFPU) is greatly saddened by the tragic death of Bafana Bafana assistant coach, Thomas Madigage, affectionately known to his supporters as Chincha, the name He earned during his heydays as a terrific soccer player.

We send our deepest condolences to his family, relatives and most importantly to Bafana Bafana players and the technical team.

His passing on robbed our country of one of the best and brightest coaching stars and a dedicated soldier of the grassroots soccer development.

He was part of the generation of players that were at the core to form SAFPU, as a powerful tool to advance and defend players’ interests against powerful soccer bosses. When Tommy firstly attended one of SAFPU meetings in 1999 at the Johannesburg Athletic Stadium, he made people at that meeting to believe that victory was certain. He never minced his words and the first thing he said was: "When are the players going to strike?"

This was not rhetoric but a meaningful statement and in four months along the line he organized players from Supersport United FC to participate in a picket at the Coca Cola Park (Ellis Park Stadium) when South Africa was playing Cameroon.

Even though the picket was cancelled at the eleventh hour, the Supersport United Players were the only ones present and organized by the only "little Mandela" as he was referred to by the then Bafana Bafana players. He went on to instigate the boycott of Bafana Bafana against England in their first ever game in England.

The true son of the soil, he spent his hard earned money to make sure that SAFPU was able to attend the CCMA cases in Cape Town when ever there was a dispute between the PSL and SAFPU on the organization rights agreement. He influenced senior and junior players to join the Union and Supersport United players were the first ones to pay the subscription on his insistence. Safe to say that he continued supporting the union through his subscriptions beyond his playing days i.e. as an assistant coach at Supersport.

Chincha gave the union its first breath.

He was a great leader who led by example and he will be remembered for the contribution that he made to make South African Sport and in particular football what it is today. It is a great loss not only to his family but to the whole of Africa and the soccer fraternity. Rest in peace our leader. Aluta Continua

Peter Fire Khoabane

082 522 9313
011 339 1906
083 210 1497.