CALLIES – FOOTBALL FOR EVERYONE
Caledonian Football Club (or Callies as they are affectionately known), was established over a century ago in 1898 by a group of mainly Scottish immigrants to play their beloved sport in their new home of Port Elizabeth.
Over the years Callies played at many venues around PE, but in the 1970’s the municipality offered them a piece of barren ground at Londt Park which was to become their permanent home. This was developed entirely by the club members until eventually in 1979 a field capable of playing football on was established. Since then in 1989 change rooms and a clubhouse were built and improvements and extensions are continually being added as funds become available. The latest of these, underway at present, will double the size of the existing clubhouse.
But Callies are all about football and over the years have been one of the most successful clubs in the district with no fewer than 25 league titles to their credit as well as numerous cups and other trophies. Callies have also had spells in the higher echelons of football in the country. In the early 1990’s they played in the NSL 2nd division finishing 3rd, and in again in the late 90’s and early 2000’s in the SAFA 2nd division for 3 years finishing in the running for top spot. At present in addition to playing in the PEFA leagues Callies also play in the SAFA SAB league where they currently sit on top of the league. Sadly lack of sponsorship has always been the stumbling block when it comes to progressing further in these competitions. Despite the teams having the talent and desire to succeed, lack of funds has meant that time and again the club has had to sell its franchise and loose players that have been nurtured by the club, from junior level, to other clubs.
The club is very serious about development of youth and has teams in every age group from under7 to under17 levels in the junior ranks. Over the years many kids that have started their football at Callies have gone on to play at provincial, national and professional level both in this country and overseas. Even the biggest stage of all is not beyond the reach of some. Goalkeeper Calvin Marlin started his career as a junior at Callies and went on to play for Sundowns and South Africa, at the World Cup Finals in Japan/Korea 2002. In addition to juniors the club also has an under 19 squad that will be playing in the very prestigious Bayhill tournament held annually over Easter in Cape Town. Academy teams from famous clubs such as Kaiser Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns regularly play in this tournament as well as teams from around the country and even Europe. Soon to be announced is that this season a major team from the PSL will be forming academy project at Callies initially at U15 and U17 levels.
Callies have for several years in the past had Ladies teams but lack of coaches has been a problem more recently. However the club are happy to announce that a suitable coach has been found and Ladies are invited to contact the club should they be interested in playing. Perhaps unique to Callies is an all girls under 9 side playing in the PEFA junior league against the boys and doing very well at that.
Not to be forgotten are the older players. Callies run a very social over 35 team and will once again host the annual SA Sports Tours national vets tournament on May 30-31. This is an extremely well organized tournament with many of the best players of the past from around the country as well a few ex-pro’s taking part. They may be a little slower but the skills are still evident. In conjunction with this event Callies will be hosting a re-union for ex players of the past at the club on Thursday night prior to the tournament all players from any club are welcome.
So no matter who you are whatever age there is football for you at Callies. You don’t even have to play to enjoy your football you can come and watch from the recently enlarged balcony or see your favourite teams play on the several big screen TV’s.
And there is absolutely no reason to go thirsty!!!