Juventus Football Club was founded in Durban by Giuseppe (Joe) Pieri in 1966. Having lived in Umkomaas for five and a half years, Joe had a vision of emulating their successful soccer team, Saiccor, an all Italian team, which was well supported by the local Italian community and their solidarity and fanatic support impressed Joe.

Juventus was affiliated to the Durban Sunday Football League, and they were entered in the C Division. The President of the Italian Club at the time was the late Cav. Valerio Cominelli who kindly donated the first black and white striped kit and he was a very proud supporter. The first trainer was Raimondo Esposito, and the captain was Cleto di Paolo.It was common practice to meet 30 minutes before the scheduled start and between them and Colzi they would pick the players to play the game for that day. All the games were played at the New Kingsmead Football Complex on the outside grounds in Walter Gilbert Road, the site where the multi million rand Moses Mabidha Stadium is being built.

The first team that trotted onto the pitch for the first game consisted  mainly of Italian immigrants, many of them well over 30 years of age, and some South African born Italians. The start was not as rosy as expected, the team had practiced only three weeks together, and they were soundly beaten 6-1 by Stamford Hill Hotel. As the season progressed the team improved and they finished halfway in the final log. Some of the players that had had overseas experience were Ilario Conti, Giuliano Colzi, Franco Pittich, Silvano Zoia, Rino de Fanti, Marino Pin while the South African born were Joe Bologna, Joe Pieri, Cleto di Paolo, Peter and Renzo Avellini and Rossano Biancalani.

The next year with the introduction of young blood, sixteen year olds, Raymond Muller, Toni Torino, the Parmiggiani brothers Gino and Gianni, the team improved and were promoted to the B Division, where they were to play most of their games, with the exception of one year when we were promoted to A Division, and were relegated the next season.

No records were kept of the early years, but quite a few talented Italian players joined us and we produced a good brand of football. Some of the players, immigrants from Italy, that showed their skills were Mario Sari, Mario Anzelloti, Umberto Scrignoli, Flavio Ferreri, to name a few, and local players Claudio Pucci, Mino Coppola, Gordon Williams, Tony Kelly, Glen Marais, Eric Grimaldi. Mino Coppola later joined professional club Durban United and became their regular first side goalkeeper. A few Italian players from Umkomaas players also wore the black and white kit with distinction, Robbi Pavan, Pierino Simonetti, Sandro Tubaro, Eddie Rivetti and Nino and Franco Greco.

The nice thing about the early days was the sporting atmosphere that existed, and the support from the Italian community.  It wasn’t uncommon for the spectators to invite the whole team after a match and pay for drinks and snacks at the Italian Club and give advice to the players on how they should or should not play football. Of course they all knew better than the referees, who were criticized for their handling of the games. This sometimes naturally worked against our team. With time however the officials learnt to understand the Italian supporters.

At the end of the 1974 season Juventus merged with Falcon who were affiliated to the Natal Football Association, and playing in the Natal League, one division below the Natal Premier League. By this merger Juventus bought the right of Falcon’s franchise with effect from the 1976 season. A meeting was held with the Italian Club, whose President Mr Luciano Orlandi and his Committee agreed to pay the franchise fee.

A meeting of players and members followed at the Italian Club on the 9th January 1975 at which meeting Cleto di Paolo was elected the first Chairman, Aurelio Ramaccio the vice Chairman, Joe Pieri the Secretary and Roberto  Rossi the Treasurer. Jock Peterson was appointed the first trainer,( Titch Mussell from August) and Arturo Biancalani the manager.

Two senior teams were entered in the Natal League and 4th League, three junior sides U17 U12,  U8 were also entered. Mergers of clubs, it is known, are never smooth going, and that was the case also at our club in 1975.  The result was that the first team never really settled down and at the half way stage both teams were bottom of the log. The first side recovered however, after signing some experienced players, and played some entertaining football, and at the end of the season were 8th on the log.  The winners of the Natal League were Ramblers.  The second team did no better than the first team and finished 9th.  The first junior sides at Juventus faired better than the seniors.  The Under 17’s finished 7th, the Under 12’s 4th, and the Under 8’s second.

The footballer of the year (Ciro Toscano Cup) was awarded to Toni Torino. Most consistent to Gavin Peterson, Most improved Angelo de Paoli, 2ND team John Smith. Most improved Under 17 – C.Toscano jnr; Under 12 Claudio Mottura, and all the Under 8’s received cups for coming second in the league to Durban City. The Juventus Queen crowned at the Annual Dance was Miss Rosa James.

The name of the club reverted to Juventus Football Club in 1976. The Ground where we were training was leased by Municipals Club from the Durban Corporation.  Municipal Club had gone into liquidation. At a meeting held on 3rd February 1976 the three sections, namely the hockey, bowls and ourselves agreed to make an offer to the Trustees of the Insolvent Estate for the use of the land.  This offer which was submitted on 29th March, was successful and we had a home ground of our own  .But the ground was not ready for home games and we had to continue playing our home games at New Kingsmead.

Executive Committee:  Chairman: Cleto di Paolo, Vice Chairman: Aurelio Ramaccio, Secretary/Treasurer Joe Pieri, plus 5 Committee members. Titch Mussell was the trainer of the first side, and Arturo Biancalani the Manager. The first side faired better this year and finished fourth on the log, having played 18 games won 10 and drew 2, 5 points behind the winners Wanderers. The second team came 9th in the fourth division. The most successful junior team was the Under 12 who won the league without losing a game, scoring 66 goals, against 6.  The Under 10’s came second to Escombe on inferior goal difference, having won 11 games and drawing 2 out of 15 games.  The Under 16’s came 5th, the Under 8’s 6th.

Footballers of the year were Valerio Chella and Shane O’Reilly, most consistent Camillo Torino, Most improved Rob Dudine, 2nd Team Michael Allan, Under 15 Lionel Allan, U12 Andrea Ramaccio, U10 Tullio Ferreri, U8 Dario Almeida. The Juventus Queen crowned at the Annual Dance was Miss Daniella di Paolo who went on to win the Miss South Africa title in 1982.

The good news for 1977 was that the ground was ready for our home games, thanks to the enterprising work of the Committee, who levelled and grassed the pitch during the off-season.

The Executive Committee remained the same as the previous year. Titch Mussell was re-appointed coach of the first team with Mr. Biancalani as Manager. Jock Petersen was coach of the second team, and Stephen Margetts Manager of the Third Team.

The first team started off well winning the first five games. This was followed by a slump which saw our team languishing near the bottom of the log. A revival towards the end of the season lifted our team to 5th place 13 points behind winners Shamrocks. The second and third sides 5th in the 3rd and 7th leagues respectively. The U14’s came 2nd, losing only one game, the U12’s 6th, the U10’s 2nd, and the U8’s 8th.

Footballer of the year was Camillo Torino, most consistent Trevor Mussell, Most improved Nick Borrelli, 2nd Team Antonio da Costa, Under 14 Charles Day, U12 Fausto Torino U10 Fillipe Almeida, U8 Ian Day. The Juventus Queen crowned at the Annual Dance was Miss Angela Tranquilli

1977 Under 10s, where the composition of the team was 10 Italian boys and 2 Portuguese. A rare occurrence, and a record difficult to beat. They won the Tower Bridge Trophy, came second in the Under 10 League, and were losing cup finalists in the Cup Competition.

Back Row: C Simionato, A Di Paolo, R Zamarian, S Pieri, R Leuci, F Almeida, A De Vincenzo
Front Row: F Giampietri, T Ferreri, D Almeida, R Borrelli, D Della-Marina

The Clubhouse was extended during the season, providing better facilities to the kitchen and Tuck Shop. A changeroom was built for the referees. Two teams won honours this year, the Under 12’s winning their league losing one game, and the Third Team won the 6th League Cup.

Mr Cleto di Paolo was re-elected Chairman. The Chairman appointed two Vice Chairman, Arturo Biancalani to look after players’ affairs, and Aurelio Ramccio, the administration. Joe Pieri was the secetary and Tony Borrelli the Treasurer, plus 4 Committee members. Luigi (Gino)Parmeggiani was appointed first team coach, with Titch Mussell as Manager, John Targudistis was in charge of the Second Team and Steven Margetts the Thirds.

The Committee decided that the first team be selected by a selection committee, consisting of Manager, Coach and Second Team Manager. This proved unsuccessfull and both the manager and later the coach resigned. Joe Pieri and Camillo Torino replaced them as Manager and coach respectively towards the end of July. At that stage the first team was fourth on the log three points behind Fynnlands the leaders. They won 4 drew 1 and lost 1 of the remaining games to finish second on the log. They also reached the final of the Natal League Cup, losing 3-2 to Park Villa from Pietermaritzburg in extra time. The second team finished third, 1 point behind the winners in the Third Division, the Third team 5th in the sixth division, and they won the league cup. This was the best season in our history so far, and we unearthed a new Italian player, just 17 years of age, Enzo Coppola, who was to wear the black and white jerseys with honour and grace our team with his superb dribbling skills, much to the delight of our supporters.

In the junior section, as mentioned above, the Under 12’s won their league, losing only 1 game. The U16’s came 4th, U14’s 2nd, U10’s 5th and the U8’s eighth. Two juniors were selected to play for the Durban intertown team. Dario Almeida in U10 and Fausto Torino in U12.

The Footballer of the year was Valerio Chella, Most consistent – Allan Parkes, Most Improved Shane O’Reilly, and Sportsman (New Cup donated by Arturo Biancalani) Malcolm Neal. In the junior section the most consistent and most improved players were:- U8 no record U10 Dario Almeida; Stefano Pieri U12 Franco Giampietri; Angelo de Vincenzo U14 Fausto Torino; Nelson Correia U16 Francesco Ferreri; Nick Stemp; Second Team Martin Matthyssen; Toni Almeida. Juventus Queen was Loredana Ramaccio.

1979 turned out to be one of our better seasons, starting off with acquiring the services of Clive Barker as coach, then winning the Natal League and with it promotion to the Natal Premier League. The first team also reached the final of the Natal Challenge Cup, where we unfortunately were beaten by Virginia United, who finished third in the Premier League. The Under 14A and Under 12A teams won their repective leagues. The Club was run by the same Executive as last year plus 4 committee members. It is interesting to note that our senior subscriptions were increased to R10, and a coke was sold at our tuck shop for 10 cents.

The first team was coached by Clive Barker, and Joe Pieri was manager. Steve Margetts was in charge of the second team and Tom Mc Roberts the third team.

The first won the Natal League by five points from Westville. The second team was fourth in the second league, while the third team was last in fifth league.  In the junior section, the Under 16’s came second in the C League, The Under 14A won the C League, the Under 14B came third in the E league, The Under 12A won the A3 league, the Under 12B were third in the B3 League the Under 10A’s 7th in the A3 league, the Under 10B’s second in the B3 League, and the Under
8’s last in A3 league.

The first team were represented by, Trevor Mussell; Riccardo Tripepi and Gary Cramer; Cammilo Torino, Raymond Muller and Alan Parkes; Martin Matthyssen, Valerio Chella and Shane O’Reilly, Greg Smith, Toni Torino, Gary Paisley, Malcolm Neal and Claudio Pucci. The Footballer of the year was Trevor Mussell. Juventus Queen was Miss Analisa Pittich.

This was Juventus’ first year in the Natal Premier League.  Not many in the Durban footballing fraternety were giving our club any chance of survival in the top league, and many had predicted that just like Fynnlands the previous year, “Juventus were up this year and down the next!!”

The combination of Clive Barker and Joe Pieri was retained for 1980, and Clive set about boosting the team with players of the caliber  of Charlie White, Rodney Clough, Alex Byrne and Larry Milton to name a few. After three games into the season, Fred Forge wrote – At the end of last season I warned that Juventus after winning the Natal League would have to find a few new players to boost their strength if they were to survive in the tougher school of football that is the Natal Premier League. The newly promoted team has not only survived a tough period of baptism but is unbeaten after three games this year. Juventus have recruited a few new players and they have the knowledgeable coach Clive Barker to motivate them. On Saturday they had to call upon their fighting spirit with ten men in order to overcome Shamrocks 4-2 at Botanic Sports Ground. On the 13 July Fred Forge wrote, Stella succeeded in closing the gap on pacemakers Juventus in the race for Premier League honours when they beat Ramblers 3-2. Juventus had to be content with a 0-0 draw against Wanderers at Botanic Sports and after 13 games they are a single point ahead of Stella in the championship race.

After 15 games Juventus were still one point ahead of Stella the 1979 champions. It was now a two horse race, but in the return game against Stella, Juventus faltered and Stella cantered to a 2-0 win.  This put Stella on top of the league, a lead they maintained until the end of the season, and Juventus after an astonishing first season in the Premier League came second, two points behind.

Natal Challenge Cup Final 

We also qualified for the final of the Natal Challenge Cup against Stella. Just one minute after  the kick off Juventus were leading when Enzo Coppola cottoned on to a hard grounder from Toni Torino and scored a fine goal. After 25 minutes however Stella took over control and equalised. The deadlock remained until the 90 minute period was up. In extra time Stella found the extra energy and Craig Banfield fired home the winner.  It was hard luck for our club. It was the second Natal Challenge Cup Final that we lost in extra time. The second team came 8th in the Premier Reserve League, and the Third team second in the fifth League.


The Under 17 team came second in the Under 17 League, level on points with Umbilo but with an inferior goal difference. They won the Under 17 Cup beating Hillary in the Final. The U 14A’s came second in the U14B League, and the B side 4th in the D League. The Under 12’s came 5th in the A2 League, The Under 10’s second in theA3 League, the Under 8’s 4th in the A3 League.

First Team Squad

Trevor Mussell; Eric Grimaldi, Raymond Muller, Cammillo Torino, Charlie White,Rodney Clough,
Chicken Price; Barry Barratt, Alex Byrne,Shane O’Reilly, Valerio Chella, Gary Paisley, Stephen
Jarrett, Larry Milton, Toni Torino, Dominic de Comarmond, Enzo Coppolla (half season)

Footballer of the year: A. Torino


After the excitement of the first year in the Natal Premier League, enthusiasm was running high and training was started in January, with over 40 players attending Clive Barker’s training sessions, all hoping that they would get a chance to play for Juventus, by now a recognised name in the local football fraternity. Clive’s signings for the new season were goalkeeper Mino Coppola, and forward Dave “Soapy” Turnbull. We had an indifferent start to the season, but started looking the part in their next two outings, but after a 3-0 drubbing by Parkhill we slipped to fourth place. After seven games we moved to third place only three points behind pace setters Pinetown.

Stella presented their unbeaten Natal Premier League record to Juventus on a plate when they ran into a 2-0 lead and looked the part, then cracked up and conceded three goals and not a little of their reputation in going down 3-2 at Gladwin Park. Our goal scorers were just before half time Toni Torino got a loose ball and stabbed it past Phil Wootton, then a minute before the whistle Enzo Coppola nodded in the equaliser.Five minutes from the end an unmarked Enzo Coppola made no mistake to give Juventus the full points.

Natal Mercury, June 1981, Fred Forge wrote: TITLE-CHASING JUVENTUS TOP LEAGUE TABLE
Juventus predictably stole clear of the pack with a resounding 4-0 win over Shamrocks at Kings Park soccer stadium and they now have a one point advantage and a superior goal record over nearest rivals Escombe at the end of the first round of the Natal Premier League. The goals all in the second half came from Enzo Coppola, Toni Torino, Dave Turnbull and Valerio Chella.

In the second half of the season we lost Dave Turnbull who signed for Durban City, and Enzo Coppola who went into the army. Young Fausto Torino and Gavin Radford were drafted into the first team squad, and Phillip Benedicto was signed. The side was still well balanced with a solid defence, and they maintained their position in top spot until the end of the season, when we were crowned CHAMPIONS. The second team was coached by Eric Grimaldi, the Thirds by Steve Margetts, the Under 16 by Roy Huggins, the Under 14 by Cleto di Paolo, the Under 12 by Rde Freitas, Under 10 Joe Pieri, Under 8 R.Roselli.

Charlie White and Enzo Coppolla were chosen to represent the Natal Currie Cup team, and Gavin Radford and Fausto Torino the Natal Under 17 Team.

First Team Squad
Manager Joe Pieri, Coach Clive Barker. Keepers – Mino Coppola, Trevor Mussell, Defence: B.Barratt, Rodney Clough, Chatlie White, Camillo Torino. Midfield: Alec Byrne, Bruno Lionett, Valerio Chella, Gary Paisley, Fausto Torino Forwards: Toni Torino, Larry Milton, Enzo Coppola, Dave Turnbull, Phillip Benedicto. Footballer of the Year – Mino Coppola, Most Consistent Player – Rodney Clough, Most Improved Player – Barry Barratt,  Sportsman of the Year – Trevor Mussell, Most Exciting Player – Valerio Chella.

Being the 1981 Natal Premier League soccer champions, much was expected by the fans for the 1982 season. But it was to be an exciting season full of drama, ecstacy and agony for the fans and players alike. This season the Football Association introduced the bonus point for three goals scored in a match. Former Durban City captain Dave Forsyth was recruited to bolster the defence and young Neil Tovey and forward Peter botes were also signed on. Our first team did not disappoint, and started off the season with five wins on the trot, earning two bonus points in the process. At the half way stage, we were top of the log with an unbeaten record, two points ahead of Pinetown. We lost our only game of the season in the return game against Parkhill, the first of the second round, and we were top of the league until the last game of the season.

The late Fred Forge, (Natal Mercury) recounts the drama of the last game as follows: RECORD REVEALS LITTLE OF THE MATCH’S DRAMA

“The records will reveal that Pinetown won the Natal Premier League soccer championship with a 3-1 victory over Hillary on Saturday. But the backdrop of drama and tension that was acted out before they got through had a Hitchcockian atmosphere to it that not even the grand master of suspense could have surpassed. Everything appeared cut and dried, Juventus, before the 3.30pm kick-off against Shamrocks of Pietermaritzburg had a one point lead over Pinetown and set to repeat their league success of 1981. After all, Shamrocks were bottom of the table with a miserable record of only one win all season. Their relegation had already been confirmed and there was really no incentive for them to even try to beat Juventus, who had thrashed them 6-2 in their first round meeting. But no, Shamrocks, in a final gesture of defiance in the Premier League upset the Italian club’s applecart – sorry pizza trolley – and denied them a repeat of the trophy by holding them to a 2-2 draw. But even then, had the players of Pinetown and Juventus been aware of the progress of their particular matches as the minutes ticked by, they may well have suffered heart attacks. It was that kind of cliffhanger. Pinetown who needed three goals for a bonus point to give themselves a chance of the championship, were trailing 0-1 through a Francis Sneeden goal until the 64th minute at Anderson Park. Nobody would have given five cents for their chances at that stage of the game. At the equivalent stage in the Pietermaritzburg match Juventus were in a state of near apoplexy when, with a 2-1 lead, Shamrocks were awarded a penalty and presented with a chance of equalising, But Juventus breathed again when Mino Coppola saved from the spot. Back to Anderson Park, where suddenly Pinetown hit the goal standard. A penalty in the 64th minute enabled Ernie Wallas to level matters and four minutes later Harold Rencken shot the home team into the lead. Even at this late stage the champagne was still being kept very much on ice at the homely Italian Club at Durban North, because Juventus were still looking good a safe bet for the title to those that are psychic. Then it happened. Just as Lyle Nesbitt was banging home Pinetown’s third goal to earn his team a bonus point, veteran Ian Wyles headed in an equaliser for Shamrocks.  The referees blew their final whistles soon therafter and the triumph of Pinetown was in stark contrast to the disappointment of Juventus whose two goals by Enzo Coppola earlier in the game – this after Phil Geary had put Rocks ahead from the penalty spot – had given them the chance of repeating Italy’s World Cup triumph earlier this year.”

Natal Challenge Cup
We reached the semi-finals of the Cup, and lost 2-1 to Virginia United.

First Team Squad
Manager Joe Pieri, Coach Clive Barker. Keepers – Mino Coppola, Trevor Mussell, Defence: B.Barratt, Rodney Clough, Charlie White, Camillo Torino. Dave Forsyth. Midfield: Alec Byrne, Shane O’Reilly, Valerio Chella, Fausto Torino, Neil Tovey;  Forwards: Toni Torino, Larry Milton, Enzo Coppola, Peter Botes.

Annual Awards
Footballer of the Year – Mino Coppola, Most Consistent Player – Larry Milton, Most Improved Player – Alex Byrne,  Sportsman of the Year – Fausto Torino.

Reserve Team:-  Most Consistent- Francesco Ferreri,  Improved – Nick Borrelli.

Juventus Queen :  Marina Ferreri.

Provincial and National Honours Rodney Clough, Barry  Barratt and Alex Byrne were selected for the Natal Currie Cup team. Gavin Radford and Mark Sinclair were selected for Natal and South Africa national team Dario D’Almeida was selected for the Natal Under 14 Team.

The successful four year partnership of Barker/Pieri ended in 1982, when Clive took over as coach of Durban City, and Joe was unavailable. Dave Forsyth was appointed Manager/Coach of the First Team and Eric Grimaldi the Trainer. New players that joined the club were Ken Mobey from Stella, Brian Hardie, Craig Saunders and Andy Ryder. Trevor Mussell was coach of the Reserve Team.

After seven games we were lying fifth, 6 points behind log leaders Escombe. In a sensational finish to the top of the table clash at Escombe, the home side, trailing 2-1 with four minutes remaining, beat our stunned team 3-2. With Juventus hard and resolute at the back, creative in midfield and determined up front and with only four minutes remaining, things looked bleak for league leaders Escombe until Juventus centre back Ken Mobey, under no pressure, unbelievably lofted the ball over Mino Coppola’s head from all of 40 metres. Escombe spurred on by this gift tried a speculative effort from 40 metres, the ball crashed against the underside of the bar and was adjudged by the linesman to have bounced over the line to give Escombe a last gasp victory.

Footballer of the year, Mino Coppola distinguished himself again this year, and in an entertaining game at Danville Park, with only three minutes left in the first half, young Bruce Robertson of Virginia broke away and forced Mino to save at full stretch. However the ball rebounded to Steve Viljoen and a goal seemed certain, but Mino showing incredible reflexes, managed to recover and block the shot. The game ended 0-0. At the half way stage, having played 13 games, we had dropped to seventh place on the log, but only five points from leaders Fynnland. In a memorable game against arch rivals Stella, our team playing some crisp football and always looking the better side, overwhelming Stella 2-0 at Botanic Gardens. Ken Mobey scored the first goal after 20 minutes then Marco Ramaccio put Brian Hardie away on the far post to wrap it up after half-an-hour. With this victory on 27 August we moved to joint fourth position. In the return game against log leaders, Escombe had to call on all their resources after finding themselves a goal down early on against us. The game was fought with the intensity of a cup final, and both goals came from the penalty spot, Escombe drawing level in the 17th minute of the second half. With only five games left we maintained our fourth position until the end of the season.

The Reserve team had their most successful season in their history. Under the guidance of Trevor Mussell, the side was made up of young players who had come through our junior ranks together with some experienced players. They finished second in the Premier Reserve League and won the Knock Out Cup. The Third team came 5th in Division 4, while the Under 17’s finished second in their league, and like the reserve team, won the Natal Under 17 Cup Final. The Under 16, Under 14 and Under 12 teams all finished 5th in their respective leagues, and the Under 10 8th.

Natal Challenge Cup

We lost in the Semi Finals 2-1 to Pinetown.

First Team Squad
Manager/Coach: Dave Forsyth. Trainer: Eric Grimaldi.
Keepers – Mino Coppola, Trevor Mussell, Defence: B.Barratt, Rodney Clough, Ken Mobey, Camillo Torino. Dave Forsyth. Midfield: Alec Byrne, Valerio Chella, Fausto Torino, Marco Ramaccio, Brian Hardie;  Forwards: Toni Torino, Larry Milton, Mark Sinclair, Paul Mulheron,

Annual Awards
Footballer of the Year – Ken Mobey, Most Consistent Player – Craig Saunders, Most Improved Player – Fausto Torino,  Sportsman of the Year – Paul Mulheron,
Reserve Team:-  Most Consistent – John Menezes,  Improved – Clive Dessington
Juventus Queen:  Christina Piacentini
Provincial and National Honours
Paul de Freitas – Natal & RSA Under 16,  Craig Saunders – Natal Currie Cup
Fillipe de Almeida and Dirk Van der Merwe – Natal Under 16, Daniel de Freitas – Natal Schools U13

1984 marked the tenth year of our membership of the Natal Football Association, and no one would’ve thought that we would have had the success that we did have. It was also the tenth year in a row that Cleto di Paolo was Chaiman of the Club. We had the luxury of a good crop of Under 17 players graduating to the first team squad, and consequently the only new players to join the club were Dave Murphy(goalkeeper) and midfielder Mark Lunzman. Rodney Clough took over as manager of the first team and Trevor Mussell was coach.

Unfortunately we had a poor start to the season, and after four games we were languishing at the bottom of the log with only one point, a draw against Parkhill. This was followed by an unbeaten run of three games that raised us up to the middle of the log table. As in the two previous seasons, Escombe continued to be our bogus opponents. On May 6 we played log leaders Escombe on their ground, and the game ended in controversy.”In what must rate as one of the better games of the season both sides performed well in the first half but could not break through the solid defences. The pattern remained the same for the first 15 minutes after the interval until Robbie Osler fastened on to a through ball from Kenny Knowles to net a hard grounder. Angry Juventus players claimed the goal was offside but the referee would have nothing of it.  Escombe put everything into attack and both Johnny Mc Gregor and Arno Wood would have scored had they not been offside”. The next game against Stella away was drawn, in a game that neither side had a forward capable of causing concern to the quick tackling defences. In the natal Challenge Cup we beat Pirates 3-1 at the oval in Pmb. “With Juventus battling to make headway against a determined Pirates team after being held to 1-1 at half time, Paul de Freitas was introduced as a substitute 10 minutes in second half, and he almost immediately changed the course of the game. He was on the field for less the ten minutes before making the vital breakthrough to put us 2-1 up. Seconds later he might have scored again with a fierce shot that rattled the upright before Toni Torino put us in a winning 3-1 winning lead from the rebound. Brian Hardie had equalised in the first half.” In the return game against Escombe at home, a goal one minute from the final whistle earned both points for Escombe.  Toni Torino the only Juventus forward to pose any semblance of threat to the Escombe rear guard, opened the scoring in the 34th minute after Paul de Freitas had presented him with the simplest of chances.

In the 62nd minute Lance Rasmussen got Escombe on equal terms, and just when it seemed that Juventus would hold out for a draw, Johnny Forster came up with his winner when he rammed the ball past Trevor Mussell.” Good wins against Pinetown 3-2 and Umbilo also 3-2 in September lifted the side to 5th position on the final log, 9 points behind winners Escombe. Cont…

Natal Challenge Cup

In the second Round we were beaten 2-1 by Umbilo at Dudfield Park, after beating Pmb Pirates 3-1 at the Oval in Pmb in the first round.

The Squad

Manager: Rodney Clough, Coach: Trevor Mussell. Keepers: Dave Murphy, Trevor Mussell; Defence: Rodney Clough, Ken Mobey, Gavin Radford, Camillo Torino, Paul Mulheron, Midfield: Marco Ramaccio, Valerio Chella, Fausto Torino, Shane O’Reilly, Greg Smith, Brian Hardie, Forwards: Toni Torino, Paul de Freitas,  Mark Lunzman.

1992 was a historic year in the history of the Football Associations in Natal, with the formation of Southern Natal Football Association, an affiliate of SAFA, causing a danger of breaking  up of the Natal Football Association’s Premier League as more clubs seemed likely to move over to the multiracial SNFA.  Juventus Football Club who already had players of colour playing in their team with NFA, was the first club to join the newly formed Association, following`extensive meetings by the NFA clubs late in December the previous year and early January.

Our club started the season in fine fashion and maintained their impressive start with SNFA’s Super League with five consecutive victories putting them firmly on top of the division, followed by Arsenal, Chelsea and Westville.  Our club’s early success was mainly due to the auspicious start by Enzo Coppola who scored a hat-trick in the first game, notching seven goals in five matches.  Enzo was supported by young Grayden Wheatley with four, and Marco Mthembu with two. Coached by former player Tony Casse, who kept a tight rein with fitness, our club continued to dominate the league table. In a newspaper report, on the 5th June, Denzyl Janneker,  reported that “Juventus, after their 5-1 victory over Aces United, look unstoppable and must surely rate as contenders for league honours this season”.

By mid-July our unbeaten reign at the top of the table experienced a dry patch, following injuries to Grayden Wheatley, Marco Mthembu, and Anton Mc Ewan, we drew three of our last four games.  Realty Stella who were late joiners in the new set-up found themselves 11th at the end of May, started an amazing come-back and by the end of July had caught Escombe in second place. Our coach Tony was keen to get his injured players back in action, but a twist of bad luck saw our team involved in a number of drawn games, and the winning streak was clearly eluding our team.

The race for honours continued until the final game. Juventus was two points ahead of Stella going into the match against Banana City at Tara Road, Wentworth, and felt quietly confident.  Banana City, third from the bottom at the end of May, had in the meantime merged with Reservoir Hills’ champions Yorkshire United, and had started to creep up the log table, winning regularly losing only one game in the last ten.  The final result was that we lost to Banana City, Stella won and took the league title by one point.

Despite losing the championship, Juventus was named club of the year and Ilario Conti, Manager of the year at a well attended end of the season function.

It was an exciting season nevertheless, and an education in the realms of mixed soccer, which had come to stay.