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Channel: Before The 'D'...Association Football around the world, 1863-1937.
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Representatives of the Dark Continent

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In 1903 The South African Football Association re affiliated with the Football Association in a gesture of reconciliation following the recent war between the Colonies and the United Kingdom*.  The following year the Argentinian association became affiliates. Ambitiously the Argentinians sought to establish a triangular tournament , to be played in Buenos Aires, with South Africa and Fulham as the guest teams.
This plan never reached fruition, but South Africa did send a team to Argentina in 1906. The Argentina FA footed the bill and the tourists embarked on a 27 day voyage from Cape Town to Southampton and then on to Buenos Aires as no direct sailings were available.
The tour gives us some insight into the relative strengths of footballing nations at the time.
According to their captain Henry Heeley the height of ambition for any South African footballer would be to be invited to play in England, however South African teams had suffered such beatings at the hands of Corinthians that they were reluctant to face English opposition (there was relief that Fulham were not sailing to Argentina). South Africa were, however,  far superior to their South American opponents. Contemporary Argentinian press reports speak in glowing terms of the methods employed by the tourists- short passing, unselfish combination and above all clean play. The press  emphasized the gentlemanly manners and conduct of the 'Representatives of the Dark Continent'.
The players were exclusively white, strictly amateur, and typically civil servants, government employees, bankers and civil engineers. Seven of the 15 players were born in South Africa and 8 originated from England and Scotland.


??.06.06
San Martin
0
6
South Africa
Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, B.A.
22.06.06
Universitarios
0
14
South Africa
Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, B.A.
24.06.06
Alumni
1
0
South Africa
Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, B.A.
29.06.06
Belgrano AC
0
6
South Africa
Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, B.A.
01.07.06
Liga Rosario XI
0
9
South Africa
Rosario
08.07.06
British XI
1
4
South Africa
Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, B.A.
09.07.06
Argentinos
0
1
South Africa
Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, B.A.
12.07.06
CA Estudiantes
2
3
South Africa
Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, B.A.
15.07.06
Argentina League XI
1
4
South Africa
Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, B.A.
18.07.06
Uruguay League XI
1
6
South Africa
Montevideo
22.07.06
Alumni
0
2
South Africa
Sociedad Sportiva Argentina, B.A.
??.07.06
Quilmes
0
6
South Africa
Quilmes
31.07.06
Paulistas
0
6
South Africa
São Paulo

The only 'home win', Alumni's victory in the first meeting, watched by a crowd in excess of 12,000, including the President, was hailed as a national triumph.

Harold James  Henman, an English born member of the party who had also played for South Africa against Corinthians in 1903, stayed on in Argentina, and as "Héctor" Henman played for Alumni  and the national team.



* The original affiliation in 1897 saw the  SAFA basing a representative in London.


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