Cape Town - Few examples of strictly impersonal news are received with such jarring dismay as the fatality or life-threatening illness of a country's acclaimed sporting hero at a relatively young age.
And one of such occurrences was the widespread reaction last October that 54 year-old, former South African soccer captain, Neil Tovey, who led Bafana Bafana to what remains the country's only African Nations Cup triumph in 1996, was in the intensive care unit of a Durban hospital after suffering a massive, life-threatening heart attack.
Mark Tovey, Neil's elder brother and an acclaimed former Kaizer Chiefs captain in his own right, admitted at the time that the medical diagnosis on SAFA's technical director was not bright and the family was "all praying."
Tovey survived and on Sunday recollected memories of his steady, but slow recovery over the past four months and what he described as "a 50 percent return to the condition I was in where I could still play a pretty useful game of squash."
"Yes I'm back at work," he added, "but, of course, I have to take it easy and not over-exert myself. Hopefully the improvement will continue after what was a scary experience and I'll be able to take on the reigns of SAFA technical director again on a full-scale basis."
In the meantime, SAFA has decided the existing technical staff will help carry the burden and no major appointments have been made as Tovey navigates his way back - slowly, but surely.