7 June 2018 – SAFA has bid farewell to one of its longest serving staff members Tilly Koloba, the beloved administrative assistant who retired this week after having worked at the organisation for nearly 20 years.
Mam Tilly, as she is affectionately known, retired saying that she now wanted to kick back and relax in her Soweto home. She was often the first port of call of all guests of the executives and was known to treat everyone with humility and respect – no matter their title.
During her time Mam Tilly also worked at the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee and the Legacy Trust. Mam Tilly is the widow of legendary late Orlando Pirates defender Chilliboy “Nobby Styles” Koloba – whose nickname was derived from a member of the England winning 1966 World Cup team, Norbet “Nobby” Stiles a tough tackling defender.
Staff held an emotional farewell for Mam Tilly at SAFA House on Tuesday, where dozens of colleagues thanked her for the motherly role she played and the impact she had on their lives.
“I joined SAFA in 1998 and football has been my life ever since. I want to thank the wonderful staff who have become family to me over this time,” said Mam Tilly. “I remember when I took my grandchildren to Maponya Mall pushing a trolley of groceries – I never would have done that if it was not for my SAFA family. Dr Jordaan and Mr Mumble, I will never forget what they have done for me.”
In paying tribute to her, SAFA president Danny Jordaan said that Mam Tilly had been a loyal servant to the organisation. “You are more than a staff member, you were a friend and confidant who brought joy and a kind ear to all you encountered. Mam Tilly would listen to everyone’s pain, to their joy and would always have a kind word.
“She was also professional – whether it was Sepp Blatter or Gianni Infantino or Issa Hayatou or anyone she interacted with in the world of football, Mam Tilly would treat you exactly the same,” said Jordaan.
SAFA CEO said the SAFA House would not be the same without her.
“Mam Tilly will always be with us in spirit. She must know that she has a home here and she can walk in whenever she wants. She was a voice of guidance; she consoled us and told us exactly where to get off when it was necessary to do. But, she was also very protective of everyone in the SAFA family. We thank her for her contribution and wish her everything of the best.”