The death of one of South Africa’s celebrated coach Ted Dumitru, has robbed the football fraternity of great talent.
He collapsed as a result of alleged heart failure or cardiac arrest on Wednesday in Johannesburg.
Ted’s decorated profile spoke volume and surpassed many hence the respect from fellow peers within the football industry.
He coached South Africa’s national team from 2005-06. His greatest success came with Kaizer Chiefs, one of South Africa’s biggest clubs, winning back-to-back league titles in 2004 and 2005.
He also had stints in charge of Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns, meaning he took charge of all three of South Africa’s top clubs. He won trophies at all three.
Dumitru also was head coach of the Zambia, Swaziland and Namibia national teams. At the time of his death, he was a member of the South African Football Association’s technical committee.
“Ted spent his best years developing and nurturing some of our best football stars. He leaves a rich legacy of football talent; it is without a doubt that Ted has an indelible mark in the history of sport in South Africa. His record spans from winning titles for our PSL clubs to leading and coaching our national team Bafana Bafana at the 2006 Cup of Nations. He may be gone, but his legacy will live on through the sportsmen and women whose careers he shaped and mentored by his exemplary display of excellence. His name will be engraved in our brightest stars. South African football is poorer with him gone,” commented Minister of sport Fikile Mbalula.
In South Africa, where nicknames for football people are popular, Dumitru was called ”The Professor.”
Former Mamelodi Sundowns owner Anastasia Tsichlas said the nickname was because Dumitru knew everything about soccer.
Says MEC for sport in Gauteng Faith Mazibuko: “I am stunned and saddened by the loss of this underrated and passionate legend of our game. Despite being in the country for only 20 years, having come from his native Romania, his impact on South African football has been tremendous and will last forever”.
According to SAFA, they will engage with the family in SA (that happens to be his fiancée) on funeral arrangements, since he had cut ties with family in Romania.
Kaizer Chiefs boss Kaizer Motaung, so did PSL and Orlando Pirates chairman Dr Irivin Khoza also sent their heartfelt condolences.
Ted was also known as “Mr Magic” to many.
He was 76.