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Total Soccer

Genres: Sport, Documentary Series

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About the Show

Total Soccer is a documentary series consisting of eight one-hour documentary films per year that tell compelling football stories in the run up to the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in South Africa.

These are the stories of South Africa's transformation ­ both on and off the field. Each film is produced and directed by acclaimed local documentary filmmakers who have been awarded nationally and internationally for their work.

Total Soccer is produced by Little Bird, an international film and television production company.

FILM 1: Pitch Revolution

Filmmaker: Catherine Muller

This series kicks off with Pitch Revolution (Part A & Part B). These two one-hour documentaries chronicle the dramatic and turbulent story of the racial integration of football in South Africa between 1969 and 1980.

During the early seventies, Apartheid's Separate Amenities Act meant that black and white teams could not compete against each other. Players of colour were also denied access to the training grounds, facilities and opportunities that were afforded their white counterparts.

However, this was the decade in which the first steps towards racial integration and racially unified teams were made. In fact, integration in local football preceded the changes that would happen on South Africa's political stage by more than a decade and it is the country's soccer players who led the way.

These two films are the story of that process.

Featuring rare archive material as well as interviews with a host of soccer legends such as Lucas 'Masterpieces' Moripe, Nelson 'Teenage' Dladla, Patson Banda, 'Jingles' Perreira, Bernard 'Dancing Shoes' Hartze, Martin Cohen, Vincent Julius, Cedric Xulu, Sam Shabangu and Zachariah Lamola, among others.

Pitch Revolution also covers new ground as it tells a story that has never been documented before: the role that soccer played in providing a passage into exile for ANC comrades.

Detailed interviews with Kgalema Motlanthe, the Secretary General of the ANC; and Patson Banda, the legendary Pirates goalkeeper; reveal how cadres such as Jacob Zuma would travel undercover with the likes of Zulu Royals in order to attend secret political meetings at Orlando Stadium.

Banda also offers vivid accounts of Chiefs and Pirates playing fund-raising matches for the ANC in Zimbabwe during the seventies.

Broadcast Dates

Pitch Revolution PART A: Sunday 24 December 2006, at 18h00
Pitch Revolution PART B: Sunday 31 December 2006, at 18h00

FILM 2: Soccer Songs

Filmmaker: Mandy Jacobson


Two die-hard football fans from Bloemfontein and rural Venda use songs to go to war in the stands while their favourite teams battle it out on the pitch.

Soccer Songs is the second two-part documentary in the Total Soccer series. It tells the story of the lengths to which two passionate and wildly eccentric soccer supporters will go in order to help their teams win.

'The Bishop', who is Bloemfontein Celtic's Number One fan, has recently teamed up with his mates to record an album of Sotho football anthems praising Celtic.

In the heart of Venda, 'Skhumbuzo' and his crew have adapted vaVenda chants in order to sing the praises of one of the most rural PSL clubs in South Africa, Black Leopards.

These football anthems are modern versions of songs sung by young men during initiation rituals, as well as popular re-inventions of kwaito and gospel numbers.

This documentary follows The Bishop and Skhumbuzo in the tense build up to a dramatic game in which Bloemfontein Celtic and Black Leopards will lock horns. There are three points at stake and these are critical for both teams as they each try their utmost to evade relegation.

Celtic are confident they can tame Black Leopards and the Leopards, in turn, are hungry for a victory. It's to be the clash of two soccer fans and their war cries. There is no overwhelming favourite, but there can only be one winner.

Songs are their weapons to spur their teams on to victory.

One week after completion of filming, The Bishop passed away unexpectedly. Soccer Songs is dedicated to him.

Broadcast Dates

Soccer Songs Part 1: Sunday 04 February 2007, at 18h30
Soccer Songs Part 2: Sunday 11 February 2007, at 18h30

FILM 3: Beauty And The Beasts

Filmmaker: John Parr


The South African national women's team Banyana Banyana is through to the finals of the Cosafa Cup, doing far better than their male counterparts ever have. They have also qualified for the African Women's Championships in Nigeria.

Unlike their Bafana Bafana counterparts, who receive copious amounts of sponsorship and funding, this film explores the great sacrifices local women players make in their pursuit to be the best in Africa.

In 2000 the Nigerian women's national team competed against their South African rivals. A contentious decision by the referee saw the Nigerians emerge as victors. Riots erupted in the stands and the South Africans swore revenge.

This is the story of the Banyana team traveling to Wari in southern Nigeria to take on their arch rivals. In doing so, they will compete in a qualifier which, if they find themselves among the top two teams, will see them competing in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup in China.

The main characters in this film are Fran Hilton-Smith (head of women's soccer in South Africa); Portia Modise (captain of the Banyana Banyana women's team), Veronica Phewa (distinguished for having scored 56 international goals, more goals than any other player, male or female, in the history of international football in South Africa); Jo-Anne Solomon (the oldest player in the team - at age 31 this trip is her swan song), and Bongiwe Radebe (at age 18, she's the youngest in the team, fresh out of school).

Veronica comes from the Valley of a Thousand Hills in deep rural Kwa Zulu Natal where she plays football in the dust; Portia hails from Soweto; Bongiwe lives in her high-rise apartment in Pinetown outside Durban where she, her mother and sister are obliged to share one bed; and Jo-Anne resides in her working class, so-called 'coloured' community in Cape Town.

The girls train in Pretoria and then depart for chaotic, exotic Wari in the Nigerian Delta, where oil refineries abound and a heated local election is being contested.

Life in Wari is such that the team needs to be escorted by armed guards wielding AK47s as they make their daily trips to the practice grounds, a one-and-a-half hour drive each way.

The girls are filled with optimism and train hard and by the end of their first two games they're convinced that victory will be theirs.

So will they manage to qualify for the final or are they sent packing home, having been beaten once again?

Broadcast Dates

Beauty And The Beasts Part 1: Sunday 18 February 2007, at 18h30
Beauty And The Beasts Part 2: Sunday 25 February 2007, at 18h30

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