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Smiley Returns To Commentary Box

Memories are made of this!

“Earl Of Surrey – he’s in a hurry – he’s hotter than an Indian curry…!”

Zimbabwe trainer Noelene Peech is on record as saying that her homeland may be the poorest racing country on earth, but that they boasted the best race commentator on earth.

South Africa’s first racecaller of colour and one of our great footballers of last century, Smiley Moosa is set for a comeback and will call two races at Turffontein on Sunday.

Now 66 years old, and not having called a race since Borrowdale Park in 2009, a breathlessly excited Essop ‘Smiley’ Moosa told the Sporting Post that he is ‘ more excited than my fans’.

“I am so happy to be given the opportunity. Clyde Basel and I always had a wonderful relationship and it’s thanks to him that I will be back in the commentary box for race 3 and 4 on Sunday. I don’t think I will sleep on Saturday evening!”

Smiley left the game on an unhappy note but he doesn’t want to talk about that as he gears himself up for an emotional return to the big time.

He played soccer during the apartheid era, when the various football leagues were segregated by race. His father somehow came into contact with a passport stating that he was white. So, in 1970, Smiley pretended his name was Arthur Williams and played in the white league for Berea Park.

The non-white section of the crowd used to scream “Smiley!” when they watched him play, but his real name was Essop. He would play for Berea Park in the week and for Sundowns (now Mamelodi Sundowns), on a much-neglected field, on the weekend.

Smiley – in his playing days

Smiley was pale enough to pass as a white person, but his passport said he was Indian. His mother was coloured, and, because of the Group Separation Act, they lived on the other side of Pretoria, so he used to play soccer in the black league.

According to Smiley, “the situation of ours was almost laughable”.

It is incredible that his answer to the apartheid system was to use his thriftiness and skill to play football in the Indian, coloured, white, and black leagues.

Even though it was his brother Zane who represented South Africa, Smiley maintains he was the better player.

“I scored more goals, and my dribbling was good, but less for the gallery than his.”

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20 comments on “Smiley Returns To Commentary Box

  1. Big G says:

    Great Stuff …. Welcome back!

  2. Ian Jayes says:

    Well done. Finally.

  3. Gavin says:

    Great news

  4. Ralph Fell. says:

    When I think about Smiley, my abiding memory is a race at the Vaal when a horse, let’s call him Bubble Gum, was 15 lengths clear at the 600 metre mark and at the 500 metre mark Smiley stated ‘And Bubble Gum is looking for a gas station.’ Priceless. He has the knack.

  5. Mel Mienie says:

    You would always make me smile when you would say “his name may be Mienie but he rides lime a Porsche” . Glad to hear you back – and all the best of luck.
    Mel

  6. Riaan says:

    Great news,bring him back permanently,commentary was excited and I recall how he was saying”this one is smoking a cigar”

  7. Leonie says:

    Oh I loved his Witt and commentary. That’s so exciting. Can’t see why he can’t stand in more often smiley will be smiling at your commentary.

  8. I am also excited to hear about you coming back looking forward to hear your commentary

  9. Andre says:

    You were greatly missed …… hope you enjoy it as much as I will.

  10. kelvin katz says:

    yYou commentate like you played the beautiful game ..
    simply the best with passion and skill not seen or heard today

  11. Editor says:

    Comment received via email:

    Hi Smiley
    Welcome home!
    Wishing you well
    Anton

  12. Anver says:

    one of the best good to see Clive has given you a chance GO for it …….white / coloured / Indian , Come on Smiley restart at 66. ( here come down the straight with Smilley shouting it home you good thing.)

  13. Andrew Harrison says:

    The most entertaining commentator I have ever heard!

  14. gerard says:

    Thank You Smiey.. i am getting tired of Cohen’s obnoxious style of commentary, he does not know when a horse breaks bad or breaks slow to tuck in at the back. If I were an owner i would be furious at the way he degrades the horses when another wins by lenghts. teach him a trick or 2 and at least you dont get squeeky at the end like Nico… I turn off the commentary sometimes when that happens.

  15. Lenny says:

    Welcome back Smiley

  16. Paul says:

    Group Separation Act?

  17. Taki Takitaki1515 says:

    I remember when Rees Van wrk rode a horse named hop on the bus Gus , as he hit the 400 m mark traveling like a winner , smiley said And Rees van wrk says hop on the bus Gus . The horse came home smoking . Well come back Smile

  18. Bob Kistnasamy says:

    Welcome back, Smiley. Commentary is going to be exciting as the days of your football at Sundowns. I remember the good old days at Curries Fountain and it such a pleasure to watch you play. Striker, also gave you a warm welcome. Suppose he had time to listen to your commentary, as he drove his mount to the winning post.

    Any news on Superman, Anton Marcus?

  19. Editor says:

    Hi Bob
    We spoke to Anton a week ago – he not certain yet but working hard on his therapy and can’t wait to get back.
    You may want to read Smiley’s thoughts on Sunday
    https://www.sportingpost.co.za/profile/profile-smiley-moosa-my-emotional-return/

  20. Bob Kistnasamy says:

    Thanks for the feedback, Ed.

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