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January 29, 2013 2:21 pm
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Jewish International Soccer Star Dean Furman Wins Over South Africa Playing for National Team

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Dean Furman Photo: Facebook

With two games behind him in his most recent national team call up, South African soccer star Dean Furman has thus far fully endeared himself to fans. With a Man of the Match performance versus Angola last week and a solid outing in a 2-2 draw against Morocco on Sunday that propelled the squad to the next round of the Africa Cup of Nations Tournament, it’s not hard to see why.

“Feisty Furman wins the hearts of Bafana fans,” screamed a headline in South Africa’s Sunday Tribune using the moniker for the national team. “Furman Bafana’s Foreman” wrote the Times of South Africa.

Furman, who is Jewish, was somewhat of an unknown entity in Africa before his first call up in September, as he spent most of his youth in England. Now the 24-year-old is making a name for himself among South African football fans and Jews in the country. One blogger for Talk Radio 702 said the station spent the week taking calls from many Jewish listeners calling in claiming a connection to the star.

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For a country obsessed with race, Furman’s skin color and religion could be a big deal, but so far he’s approached his role on the team like any other player would.

“It’s not something I think about at all when I’m out there,” Furman said, speaking with The Algemeiner of his Judaism. “It’s not even something that comes into my mind. It’s just about playing football and trying to do the best that I can for my team. I put it aside, put my head down and just get on with the job.”

Furman plays for the English side Oldham in the country’s third tier, but has chosen to represent his country in recent weeks, skipping out on several club matches.

“When your country comes calling it’s very hard for me to turn it down. I’m very proud to be involved in national sport and I want to get as many caps as possible, ” Furman told The Algemeiner.

As for the future, Furman is looking no further than Saturday, when South Africa plays Mali. “We’re excited for the game. It’ll be  tough but we’re looking to continue progressing through the tournament.”

A South African newspaper headline voicing support for Furman.

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  • Mick Holland you are an ignorant idiot , south african love dean . when he touches the ball they go DEAAAAAAAN , remember Mark Fish they would say FISHHHHHHHH , mathew booth BOOOOOOOOOTH , get the grip , Jews always cry racisim , can youy give me a single reason why they will hate him . stop being ignorant and learn other cultures

    • Mick Holland

      Miki, thanks very much for putting me right. What sounded like booing must have been thousands calling out MLLLUUUUNGGGGUUUU! I stand corrected and now, better educated. Yes – a great shame about the penalties.

      Ah China, you seem to be a little agitated. Two comments and both of them quite argumentative. I agree with you that I may be ignorant, in that I do not follow African football culture, but I’m certainly not an idiot. In my judgement an idiot is a person who hands out insults without thought, or any knowledge of the person he or she is calling names, while hiding behind a pseudonym… either an idiot or child.

      I cannot give you a reason why anyone should hate Mr Furman other than what seemed to me at the time as the same racist cat-calling we suffered from in England many years ago. Happily, gone are the days when black players were met with monkey chants and had bananas thrown at them as they plied their trade on the pitch. My comment below was that there seemed to be an inversion of this in operation during last night’s game.

      Your attitude puzzles me and you come across as an unfortunately very bitter individual.

  • He is not jewish international, he is a proud South African international ,What has religion has to do with football , he actually plays with a half team christians , but no writer writes about christian international . Jews like publicity too much like kids , grow up , leave our hero alone and write about your given land .

  • Miki

    They are not booing. They are praising him! They say mlungu. In context, it means white boss, I think. He is the break out star of the team. Came from nowhere to become best player. Too bad he and others missed the penalty today.

  • Mick Holland

    He’s getting some dreadful treatment from the crowd this evening. Every time he touches the ball he’s being given the bird. Dreadful racism being shown by the thousands of people in the stadium. Visiting black players are subject to this kind of treatment in places like Slovenia, or Serbia, but that doesn’t make it right! It’s worse than the very bad old days in the UK when black players were subjected to pretty bad cat calling.

    Grow up Africa!

  • Andrew Hofmeyr

    Question: watching mali SA and wondering why the crowd starts almost booing when Furman gets the ball? Any ideas as it seems benevolent, wondering what his nick name was… Thanks

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