‘Feisty and passionate’ footballer Marc Batchelor is remembered
The death of former footballer Marc Batchelor triggered an outpouring of sympathy from the SA soccer fraternity.
Former Bafana Bafana striker George Dearnaley says Batchelor was a “feisty and competitive” player and was savvy in the business of football, while Kaizer Motaung said he was shocked at the former Chiefs player's untimely death.
Former Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates forward Batchelor was killed in what appears to have been an assassination in Johannesburg on Monday night.
He enjoyed a stellar club career‚ featuring for Moroka Swallows‚ Mamelodi Sundowns‚ SuperSport United and BidVest Wits‚ his highlight no doubt lifting the CAF Champions Cup with the Buccaneers in 1995.
He also scored in the Soweto Derby for both Chiefs and Pirates‚ and crossed paths many times on the pitch with Dearnaley after the duo had been teammates in provincial junior football in what is now Gauteng.
“He was feisty‚ competitive and worked hard for his team‚” Dearnaley said. “He fought for everything and tried to turn every duel into a physical battle.
“I had to pick him up at set pieces when I played against him and he would be full of verbal attacks too: ‘I’m going to score George‚ I’m going to embarrass you‚ you’ve got no chance.’
“But he never did! He was a heart-on-his-sleeve type of player.”
Batchelor also played for Dynamos in a career that was not quite journeyman‚ but took in seven clubs in a fairly short space of time.
Dearnaley remembers him as shrewd in the transfer market‚ and a player who understood his worth and what teams would be prepared to do to capture his signature.
“He was one of the few to work out how to make money off the transfer market‚” Dearnaley says. “I used to chirp to him that he had more clubs than [SA golf legend] Gary Player‚ and he would reply‚ ‘and they all paid me to sign’.”
Dearnaley added that Batchelor had a deep affection for the game and always gave everything for the teams he played for.
“He was a proper football person back in the day. Very passionate about the game. He fought for his teammates every week … and sometimes with them!”
Amakhosi boss Motaung said: “I am shocked to learn about the passing of former Kaizer Chiefs player Marc Batchelor.
“On behalf of Kaizer Chiefs, I wish to express my deepest heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family‚ friends and the football fraternity.”
The 49-year-old Batchelor was rare in SA football in that he wore the jersey for all three prominent Soweto sides: Chiefs‚ Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows.
He featured in the 1999 Bob Save Super Bowl final for Chiefs‚ where they were surprisingly beaten by SuperSport‚ and a year later played again in the final‚ this time for Sundowns as they lost to Chiefs.