THE Premier United Soccer Club from Hanover Park dropped a bombshell by going ahead with a switch in allegiance that could have far reaching repercussions in the amateur game.
Premier United, which was the strongest and most successful club in the Local Football Association (LFA) Greater Athlone, has joined the LFA Cape Town Tygerberg, after tendering its resignation on Tuesday, 1 April.
Rieduwaan Anthony and his brother Shamiel Anthony, who are two founder members of Premier United, confirmed the club's move - a move that will drastically decrease the membership of the Athlone/Heideveld business group belonging to the LFA. (The LFA also comprises the Rygate, Manenberg and Cape District groups.)
Premier United stalwart Rieduwaan Anthony is also at the helm of the Hanover Park semi-pro outfit in the National First Division. Hanover Park was founded out of Premier United a few years ago.
"The decision to leave the Athlone LFA was not an easy one to take. This is where I learnt my soccer as a barefoot junior with the old Blackheath club," said Anthony, after meeting with Athlone LFA officials at the Turfhall Sports Complex in Crawford on Saturday morning.
"Our club has become too big in numbers for the LFA Athlone. We needed to take our players to a higher level.
"I believe Cape Town Tygerberg will provide us with the opportunity to develop our youth players for pro soccer," says Anthony, whose Hanover Park side eased their relegation woes with a 2-0 win over relegation-bound Western Province United in a NFD match at Wynberg at the weekend.
Premier United fielded six senior teams and several junior teams from u/7 to u/17 level in their former LFA. The Premier first-team reigned supreme in Western Province inter-club competitions during the 1990s and the early 2000s.
The 28 year old Premier United's success record was close to matching the dominance of the Wynberg based Battswood club in amateur soccer during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.
Anthony says another reason behind their leaving the LFA was because a couple of clubs regarded Premier United's home venue in Hanover Park as being an "unsafe place".
He said it was unfair on his juniors in particular to trek to the Turfhall Complex to play at weekends as the club lost touch with the community it came from.
The Cape Town Tygerberg clubs, however will be in action at Hanover Park when the new season gets underway next week.
Yusuf Christians, the president of LFA Greater Athlone says he was disappointed at being unable to stop Premier's move. "They were a cornerstone of the LFA and their departure will affect the Athlone/Heideveld competitions.
"I understand the Anthony brothers and their fellow executive members need to grow the club at a higher level, though" says Christians.
In another soccer move, Parkwood United have crossed from Cape District FA to the LFA Greater Wynberg which is based in Grassy Park. There are moves afoot among some Parkwood members who are loyal to Cape District to revive the old Southampton club. Southampton changed its name to Parkwood United in 2007.