LFA refs blow whistle for a good cause

MPLFA HOD of referees, Gabriel De Bruin, centre, with fellow officials, from left, Muneeb Amsterdam, Kenny Manuel, De Bruin, Alan Hudson, Gakeem Mohamed and Clive Baile. Picture: Fuad Esack

Mitchell’s Plain soccer officials took to the field at the weekend to help raise much-needed funds for Muraad Amsterdam, 12, who has cerebral palsy.

The Mitchell’s Plain Local Football Association (MPLFA) HOD of referees, Gabriel de Bruin, helped to put together a plan that saw all the match fees on the day donated towards a medical procedure for the youngster.

“Our proposal was that all senior referees, ex referees, club chairmans and LFA exco members must officiate at junior matches, and that all the referees’ match fees must go towards the Amsterdam family, to make it possible for Muraad to have his surgery which costs approximately R130 000,” De Bruin said.

MPLFA Youth HOD Safwaan Arendse was among a number of club officials who took on refereeing duties at the weekend to help raise funds for Muraad Amsterdam, 12. Picture: Fuad Esack

The referees’ plan of action follows in the footsteps of former Run4School’s general manager and a friend of the family, Frank Steyn, who announced earlier this year that he will that he will undertake a solo 100km run from hospital bend to Hout Bay, making his way along the False Bay coast and finishing at the Woodlands sports complex on Saturday September 2.

Former Run4Schools general manager Frank Steyn with the Amsterdam family, from left, Muneeb, Muraad and Mariam

Steyn, who has undertaken similar fund-raising efforts previously, said that following a series of preoperative tests in November last year and after discussions with health specialists, it was decided that Muraad would be an ideal candidate for a Baclofen Pump implant, also referred to as ITB therapy.

“I have taken it upon myself to help the family raise funds for Muraad’s operation,” he said.

His mother, Mariam, said Muraad, the youngest of two children, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at the age of five. He cannot walk or sit up on his own and is fed through a tube.

Muraad Amsterdam in good spirits.

“His muscles are very stiff and he gets physio at Eros School in Bridgetown,” she said.

“Last year, the doctors at Red Cross did a pre-op and they found that he is a candidate for the pump, ” she said.

Father Muneeb, a long-serving member of Woodlands United FC and a MPLFA referee, said he was thankful for all the help they’ve received from his fellow referees, family and friends but that they are still a long way off from reaching their goal.

“It’s a bit of a challenge for us,” said Amsterdam, who grew up in Lentegeur but has settled in Bonteheuwel where the family now lives.

“I work alone and his mother had to stop working to look after him,” he said. “It was so nice to see all the ex-referees make themselves available to help raise funds,” said Amsterdam.

MPLFA secretary Clive Bailey calls the shots during a junior match at the weekend. Picture: Fuad Esack

By all accounts, De Bruin and co will have many more matches to officiate before Muraad can be booked into theatre.

“Hopefully, this will not be a once-off initiative, as there are more people out there, within the LFA, that need some kind of assistance,” he said.

Muraad Amsterdam with MPLFA officials at Westridge sportsfield.

If you can help, call De Bruin on 073 200 3191, Steyn on 081 495 7132 or Amsterdam on 071 878 4373.