BY CLEMENT DU PLESSIS
THOSE who knew the late Allan Jacobs would tell you of his strong leadership, fair play and his love for hockey.
I had dug up an old Western Province hockey photograph with a bespectacled Allan sitting equalling imposing on his chair as he would be commanding his players in field hockey, as it was called then. Field hockey in the literal sense; as hockey had been played on a bumpy grass field at Clover Crescent, Athlone.
The transition from field hockey to astro turf occurred in the late 1980s when Allan had stopped playing hockey and assumed his conscientious community duty in the management role of the sport.
Mocambo to Blackburn
He was a member of the Mocambo Hockey Club as a youngster. He had left the club in subsequent years to start a new club, Blackburn – determined to grow the sport of hockey. Allan attracted talented juniors to the club who had gone on to gain WP and SA senior schools colours.
Many of his players made it to the WP and the SA club hockey team. This is so because of Blackburn’s dominance under Allan’s leadership.
His passion for the game did not die when ‘sports unity’ was upon South Africa in the early 1990s.
He was one of the former players responsible for the establishment of the Vygieskraal-based Central Hockey Club which had absorbed the current players from the previous Sacos-affiliated clubs in Cape Town.
(The South African Council on Sport, anti-apartheid sports movement, Sacos)
Allan’s entire package as a big and physical specimen, coupled with his acumen were qualities which stood him in good stead.
As a player he represented WP and SA. Allan was the vice-captain of the Sacos hockey team in 1982, and in 1988, he captained the Sacos hockey team – a sure indicator of Allan’s tenacity in reaching the pinnacle of the sport.
With South Africa back in the international spotlight by 1991, Allan had the honour and privilege to see his son Bruce represent South Africa at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
We have now taken permanent leave of Allan who passed away on 17th August.
He leaves behind his wife Lily, sons Bruce and Jonathan.
His work remains forever etched in the memory of a community he served for decades.