CAPE TOWN – Tributes poured in on social media for former South African cricket and rugby star Saait Magiet, who died on Tuesday.
Cricket South Africa confirmed that Magiet – a brilliant all-rounder who captained the non-racial SA Cricket Board in 1987 and 1991 – had passed away following a heart attack while on holiday with his wife Nazli in Malaysia.
He was 66.
Magiet was revered along with his brother Rushdie – a former Proteas chairman of selectors – as top black sportsmen during apartheid.
A stalwart of the Primrose Cricket Club, Saait Magiet played from 1971 to 1991, and was 40 years old by the time of unity.
There was no doubt among those who watched and played with him that Magiet would’ve made a unified South African team.
Magiet was an opening bowler and hard-hitting middle-order batsman, and also coached the Western Province Under-19 side.
Former Proteas bowling coach Vincent Barnes, who played with Magiet for Western Province, said: “I’m absolutely gutted by the news that one of my sporting heroes, Saait Magiet has passed away. R.I.P my friend.”
In a statement from the WP Cricket Association, Cape Cobras assistant coach Faiek Davids said: “Saait was my hero, and I learned at his feet since the age of 14. I ended up playing with him in the Western Province team.
“He could take away the game from the opposition with the bat because he was very attacking. As a bowler, he could swing it both ways and he could be devastating.
“He was undoubtedly a legend of the game.”
My Hero, Icon and childhood hero May you RIP. Fond memories in conversation and either Rugby or cricket arena. I salute you Saait Magiet true Legend 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/fVynm1snf7— Faiek Davids (@FaiekDavids1) July 17, 2018
Barnes added: “I remember we played for the 40-and-older South African team together with Vlam Michau and Kevin McKenzie, and Saait was in the team and stood tall.”
WPCA chief executive Nabeal Dien expressed his condolences to the Magiet family, and said he had no doubt that Saait would’ve “made a compelling case for inclusion in the Proteas team as he was that good”.
Cricket SA CEO Thabang Moroe said: “Saait and his elder brother, Rushdie, were two of the legends of the game under the auspices of SACBOC and later the SACB, and both would undoubtedly have represented a unified South African cricket team had the opportunity existed.
“On behalf of the CSA Family, I extend our condolences to his family, friends and cricket colleagues.”
Magiet was also a fine loose forward in rugby for Primrose, as well as the City and Suburban Board team, and is regarded as the best player not to have earned a Saru national cap.
The SARU SACOS Legends group said on Facebook: “We wish to convey their sincere condolences to the Magiet family on the passing of their father, brother and son.
We are humbled by his sacrifices on the sporting front which he has unselfishly afforded to us. This he did on the cricket and rugby field, but even greater was his steadfastness and support to non-racialism.
“May the contributions of such icons be forever etched in our memories and live on through those it has touched.
Only through the tireless efforts of people like him and others are we now able to enter the international sporting arena and stage unfettered. Lest we forget.”
Others in the broader cricket community also took to social media to pay tribute…
I’m absolutely gutted at the news that one of my sporting heroes, Saait Magiet has passed away. R.I.P my friend. #legend— Vincent Barnes (@VincentBarnes50) July 17, 2018
A very sad day indeed and I’m stunned , extremely sad and shattered.
May he RIP.
We share your sentiments, Vinnie. He was one of the legends of non-racial sport. My his dearly departed soul Rest In Peace. Condolences to his family.
Ameen,a true role model and extraordinary sportperson and human being,may Allah grant him Jannatul Firdous Insha Allah
A great all rounder and human being. MHSRIP
RIP Saait Magiet. A truely great cricket player. Full Recognition of his His talents denied by the cruel system of the time.
Unquestionably one of the best cricket all-rounders produced in SA, a great rugby player too! My childhood hero!
Terribly saddened by the news of the sudden death of a superb all round sportsman Saait Magiet. Wonderful fast bowler & hard hitting batsman of WP during the Sacboc era. Outstanding flank/ eighth man as well Condolences to Magiet family. #legend #nonracialstar #primrose #ct@ashfakmohamed