Throwback Thursday: Marawaan Bantam
Posted: 12 July 2018 Time: 17:30
Former Santos, Bidvest Wits and Mpumalanga Black Aces midfielder Marawaan Bantam says his professional career, which spanned from 2003 to 2011, was a “life changing” journey.
Many fans of Santos, Wits and Aces will be able to testify that Bantam or “Beans”, as he was better known, was a free-kick specialist of note that could decide the outcome of a match with a moment of brilliance – whether it was with a free-kick or a sublime pass to set up his strikers.
This, along with other qualities which he possessed, is also one of the reasons he got his break at the People’s Team during the 2002/2003 season – albeit at the age of 26.
He was one of the so-called late bloomers, which took the PSL by storm.
Bantam, who has took up carpentry, the other passion in his life, after hanging up his boots, spoke to KickOff.com about his journey as a footballer.
“I was rather late on the scene with regards to making my pro career, but I tried to make the most of my time,” Bantam says.
“Coming from Bonteheuwel, a so-called ghetto township where gangsterism and drugs was part of daily life for many of the boys and young men, one needed to have a passion and purpose in life.
“Soccer was in a big way my salvation and I had to cling on to that.
“Playing for a club called Sporting United from the Metropolitan Football Association, I always dreamt of what it would be like playing pro soccer.
“I remember there was guys like William “Pele” Anderson and Sedick “Dicky” Benjamin. Others such as Calvin Petersen were also role models to us coming from these ghetto areas.
“That’s what kind of kept me going and where I drew my inspiration.
“Obviously my coaches and teammates at club level all played a role in some way. Not forgetting the teachers from Arcadia Primary and High schools.”
The 40-year-old says winning the Nedbank Cup with Wits in 2010 is one of his biggest highlights. Wits beat AmaZulu in the final at FNB Stadium.
“It was quite a spectacle, the crowd and atmosphere was phenomenal,” says Bantam, who is now coaching Jamestown United at amateur level.
“Another fond memory I will always cherish was in my second season with Santos when I scored eight goals from the midfield which included a brace against both [Mamelodi] Sundowns and [Orlando] Pirates. That was really special times for me as a player.
“I might not have 10 houses and flashy cars, but soccer has really been good to me and for that I shall always be grateful and stay close to the game.”