Home Podcast Suliman Mangera – Creating the iconic Solly’s Sports Shop

Suliman Mangera – Creating the iconic Solly’s Sports Shop

by Salaamedia Intern
Solly’s Sports Shop is an iconic store and staple in the Lenasia community Photo Solly’s Sports Shop

Lenasia – For 21 years Solly’s Sports Shop has served the Lenasia community faithfully. They have provided the community and surrounding areas with every sporting good and essential. Solly’s Sports Shop has become a pillar in the community.

It all started when one legendary player, Suliman Mangera, saw a need in the community and decided to fulfil it. While most ex-players go into coaching, Mangera decided to open a sporting shop after being unable to find a cricket ball in Lenasia.


The secret to Solly’s Sports Shop

It is extremely difficult to find a sporting shop that has been around for an exceptionally long time. Most close after a couple of years. Being around for 21 years is quite an accomplishment. Having a passion for sports and a knowledge of different sports are two of the main ingredients, according to Mangera.

“I think to have a passion for sport first of all is the main ingredient. Having knowledge about the various sporting codes. Unfortunately, many sports stores fall by the wayside because they focus primarily on football. We cater for 22 codes of sport. We know sport, we love sport, and we can interact with all codes. In fact, we were one of the first stores in the country to do indigenous games.”

Another key factor is the love for the community that Mangera has instilled in Solly’s Sports Shop. The care he has for customers shines through and he believes it is a vital difference between them and other sporting shops.

“I love to interact with my clients. It is not very cold and like walking to another sports store where you take the item from the shelf, and you pay for it. We give advice, we interact with the parents and the kids you find out what sort of levels they’re playing at. We advise them accordingly. Instead of spending R5000 on a bat for a 12-year-old, we sell them one for R500 because we believe that’s the way we should conduct our business.”

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Sports has always been the love of his life

Going into the sports business was a natural choice for Mangera. He was involved in all sorts of sports from as early as six years old. Having a natural talent for football and cricket helped him excel in it. He had such talent that at one point he was even on trial for Crystal Palace. That dream was cut short when he was struck with meningitis. He returned to South Africa after which, he continued to shine in sports.

“Unfortunately, I was struck by meningitis. They gave me 12 hours to live and said I’d never play sports again. Through the grace of the Almighty, within a year I was back on the field. I went on to represent the province at cricket. I played professional soccer. That passion for sports still runs through my veins.”

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It is all about doing what you love

It is fair to say that Mangera loves sport and it runs in his blood. At the age of 63 he still plays football, golf, and cricket during the week. He is currently training for a tribute cricket game that will be happening at Wanderers on the 18th of September. It is this love for sports that he believes has kept his business going for so long. This passion that he has, he has imparted on his staff. His advice for upcoming businesspeople is to do something you love, and you will always excel in it.

“Do something that you love so that when you wake up the next morning, you should look forward to getting there. My advice to my children was exactly the same. My advice to them was to choose wisely because for the next 40 odd years of your life you’ll be doing the same thing. Enjoy what you do, love what you do and have passion for it so that your clients can actually feel that passion when they come to your store.”

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