Engen Santos, The People’s PSL Team

Find out more about The Peoples Team, a professional soccer club in Cape Town

Next to Ajax Cape Town, there is another professional soccer club, Engen Santos, that plays in the Premier Soccer League (PSL) in South Africa. The prefix ‘Engen’ refers to the main sponsor of the Capetonian based soccer club – locally people refer to them as ‘Santos’ without mentioning the sponsor. Santos is a very popular soccer club, not in the least because of its turbulent history and their subsequent nickname ‘The Peoples Team’.

Santos has been a professional soccer club since 1982, when the club was still called Lightbodys Santos FC, before Engen demanded a name change. The team originated on the fields of the Heideveld township on the Cape Flats, and throughout its earliest beginnings the club was tormented by financial problems, political obstacles, fraud and theft. Hence the nickname, and the identification and connection a lot of people feel towards the soccer club. The team made its debut in the South African PSL league in 1996.

Winning the PSL

Ever since its entry in the PSL, Engen Santos had its ups and downs in terms of performances and rankings. However in the season of 2001-2002 it experienced a first-timer when the soccer club from Cape Town achieved the first position, acclaiming them to be the best soccer team of South Africa.

A remarkable achievement, especially taking into consideration that the team has never managed to relive that winning momentum again. After winning the South African Cup – the ABSA Cup – in 2003, ranking fourth in the PSL in 2009-2010 has been the best achievement that Santos has managed ever since. In July 2009 Cape Town born and bred soccer coach Boebie Solomons took the lead in training and motivating the Engen Santos first team.

Just like many other South African soccer players – excluding names like Benni Mc Carthy and Steven Pienaar – the Santos players tried but only very few actually managed to break through on to the international soccer fields. Soccer club Santos did deliver a few ‘big’ South African names to the global soccer fields – amongst them Jean-Marc Ithier, Duncan Crowie, Edries Burton and Nasief Morris. Nevertheless, almost none of them ever made it outside the borders of the African continent.

Santos’ Stadium

Interested in watching an Engen Santos soccer game? The take a drive to the Athlone Stadium in the Athlone suburb just outside Cape Town. It has 30 000 seats for soccer fans. Plus: the Athlone Stadium gained a lot of international attention when the Dutch national team used the stadium for their last training session in Cape Town prior to their 2010 World Cup quarter final match against Uruguay at the Cape Town Stadium.

The history of soccer clubs in and around Cape Town is quite a historic rich one. Read more on the history, general information, performances, stadiums and famous players of these Capetonian soccer clubs: Ajax Cape Town and Vasco da Gama.

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For CapeTownMagazine.com the saga of soccer in South Africa didn’t end with the 2010 World Cup. Stay on the ball with sports in Cape Town by visiting our Sport Section.

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