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January 1, 2015 1:32 pm

South African Jewish Soccer Star Dean Furman Leads National Team Into African Cup of Nations

avatar by Ben Cohen

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"We're going in with a lot of confidence," says Jewish South African midfielder Dean Furman about the forthcoming African Cup of Nations. Photo: Twitter

As South Africa’s national soccer team prepares for the forthcoming African Cup of Nations, which kicks off on January 17 in Equatorial Guinea, all eyes are on Dean Furman, the Jewish midfielder widely tipped to captain the side during the three-week tournament.

“I’m very excited at this stage,” Furman told The Algemeiner from England, where he has established himself as a mainstay in the center of the park for Doncaster Rovers, who play in League One, the third tier of English professional soccer. “We had a great qualifying campaign and we’re going in with a lot of confidence.”

Furman went into South Africa’s last two qualifying games, against Sudan and Nigeria, as team captain. After a 2-1 victory against the Sudanese and a 2-2 draw with the Nigerians, during which Furman’s exquisite pass set up Takelo Rantie to level the game for the South Africans, the team finished top of their qualifying group.

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Furman clearly wants to lead his team again. Serving as captain “was an incredible experience for me and for my family,” he said. At the same time, he noted that the captaincy came his way “in the worst possible circumstances,” following the murder of the former captain, the much-loved goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, during an attempted burglary at his girlfriend’s house near Johannesburg last year.

Furman, who comes from what he describes as a “traditional” Jewish family, said that his Jewish identity is something he’s very proud of. But, he joked, “it doesn’t necessarily affect my football.”

South Africa – hailed by their fans as the “Bafana Bafana” (“Boys Boys”) – open their quest for the African Cup of Nations trophy on January 19 with a tough match against Algeria, one of the strongest teams on the African continent. The Algerians edged out Russia and South Korea to reach the knockout stage of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, before they were defeated 2-1 by Germany, who went on to win the tournament.

As well as Algeria, the South Africans will face stiff competition from Senegal and Ghana as they attempt to reach the knockout stage.

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  • Mark.many years ago a German anthropologist, in the middle east, mistakenly stated that because the Jews and Arabs had a similar language and lived in the same area they were related. Have not found research that shows DNA or another factors that link the two groups. Does any onE ?

  • Eric R.

    Given the Jew-hatred of the modern day Communists running the ANC and their Islamofascist allies, Mr. Furman should renounce his South African citizenship and play for Israel.

    • Notyet.Dean plays for S A andt here is no anti-semites in S A playing fields.Concerning the A N C posture I think it is purely hypocritical to appease M J C(muslim judicial council)which is an iota of the S A population.May he play well as usual with no burdens imposed on him by the writer above.

  • Ada

    In answer to Rachel Robinson, it is a pity you are not aware of the many medals and cups won worldwide by Israel,israelis (Jews) excel in sports definitely.

    • Don’t be ridiculous South Africa is a democracy with many Jews who strongly support Israel live in it

  • rachel robinson

    Where did my comment go???

  • rachel robinson

    It is good to see that Jews excel not only in war games but in soccer games as well. Good luck!!!

  • rachel robinson

    It is nice to see that Jews excel not only in war games but in fun games as well. Bravo!!!

  • steven L

    Good luck but be worry of Antisemitism!

    • hey, Rachel. Jews excel and contribute to the betterment of every area of humanity, from Science, Technology, Medicine, Education, etc.. Maybe it’s time you looked at what the Arab nations have contributed ??
      Iran, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordon, Iraq Syria,Palestinian territories, etc…time to look at their version of Human rights and Aphardtied. No Jew in any of these places would be allowed to represent their country.

    • MARK L. BRECKER, ESQ.

      WHY IN THE UPCOMING GAME AGAINST ALGERIA SHOULD HE WORRY ABOUT ANTI-SEMITIC ACTIONS. ALGERIA, WHILE IT HAS A SUBSTANTIAL BERBER POPULATION, STILL CONSISTS OF AN OVER-WHELMINGLY SEMITIC POPULACE. [F.Y.I 85% of the world’s Semites are Arabs, and 15% Ethiopians; Israelites are indeed a major aspect, but only among the remaining 5%].
      MARK LEWIS BRECKER, Esq.
      Returned Peace Corps. Vol.
      Ethiopia III

    • That exists in you imagination only.He plays well.

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