Son of a Chazzan! Meet the Jewish father and son Cape football duo

David Passman comes out to make a daring save during a Bayhill Premier Cup 2022 match for Stellenbosch Football Club.

By Justin Asher

Sean Passman was a Maccabi football player in the 1980s, but like many, his life took a different direction. 

Now he and his wife Angie are watching in awe as their 18-year-old son David reaches for the stars.

David has been playing football for years, but it was his recent stint at Durbanville Football Club which really put him on the map and showcased his ability. I had heard stories that there was this young lad who was pretty good at what he did. Knowing that everyone needs a goalkeeper, I thought I’d investigate a little further.

I did not expect to find, at the bottom of De Villliers Drive, that a young Jewish chap was making waves between the poles for Durbanville Football Club, as one of the best up-and-coming goalkeepers in the city.

I’ve been working as an administrator in football for many years, and I’d like to think that if you’re Jewish, we’ve said Shabbat Shalom at least once, alongside the pitch on a rainy Saturday morning. So imagine my surprise when I realised that this young goalkeeper was the son of the club’s Junior Chairman, Sean Passman, a fellow administrator whom I’d gotten to know over a few years of football leadership, and not once guessed that we had — at the very least — our religion in common.

Sean grew up as the son of a Chazzan in a religious home. The Maccabi goalkeeper in the 80s made it to a final during a tournament held in Cape Town, but a serious knee injury put an end to his dream of playing professionally. After losing his dad at a young age, he lost his way religiously before meeting his wife, Angie, who showed a keen interest in Judaism and converted through Temple Israel.

I asked Sean when he noticed David’s passion for football, and how he came to be a goalkeeper. What unfolded was quite a fascinating story. Many believe that to become the best in any position on the football field, one must start (and end) in it. But, that’s not the case at all.

“David started playing at age five, and was immediately ear-marked as a defender,” Sean explained. “He played at the back until he got to under-13 when we needed a goalkeeper. He and another kid put up their hands, and they shared the role. When he started playing under-14, he decided to go into it more seriously.

“I got him a private coach, a chap by the name of Clinton Paul — a hard coach, but David was so motivated by him. Our under-16 coach at the time, Jonathan Boltney, saw something in David and arranged a trial for him at Ajax Cape Town (now Cape Town Spurs),” he continued.

But the opportunity came just before the coronavirus pandemic, and David’s dream of playing for an academy would ultimately not materialise. Once football resumed, David was suddenly flung into an under-18 squad with the reality of having to play competitive football for the first time since the virus halted the game two years earlier.

David’s senior (first team) debut for Durbanville, where he had started as a five-year-old in 2009, came against Saxon Rovers, and he was an instant hit. Sean’s phone began ringing first thing the next morning as word got out about the shotstopper’s performance. It was local third division outfit, FN Rangers, with well-known local coach Arreshaat Daniels, who was finally able to get David to start training with them, with a plan to sign the paperwork and stay on.

Just a few months into the professional and semi-professional summer football preparations, it was back to the negotiating table for the Passmans, as Stellenbosch Football Club (the academy and premier soccer league side from the Winelands) made an offer which was ultimately accepted. It’s now home for this aspiring goalkeeper.

During his short stint thus far with Stellenbosch FC, David has been part of the squad that finished as finalists for both the 2022 Bayhill Premier Cup and Engen Knockout Tournament, and were crowned winners of the 2022 Kapstadt Cup and the 2022 Stellenbosch Academy of Sport (SAS) Cup.

“I’ve never really had a hero, but I’ve grown up with many role models in my life, on and off the sports field, such as my first goalkeeper coach Clinton Paul, and of course my dad,” David says.

Being a young Jewish teenager  living in Durbanville and attending a non-Jewish school certainly comes with its challenges. David told me he had been trying to practice Judaism on his own, but acknowledged that playing football and chasing his dreams has made it difficult to juggle his desire to get more involved in the community, while keeping the fire to become a professional footballer.

He says, “I feel slightly disconnected from the community. I’d love to play Maccabi, but it wasn’t very accessible for me to make the squad as the trials were held only in Johannesburg. 

“And of course, I live in Durbanville,” he continued, “The majority of the community is in town, so I don’t mix with as many Jewish people as I would love to, but for a long time we did make an effort to go to Shul every Friday night, in either Milnerton or Sea Point.”

In writing this story, I learned of David’s grandfather, Jack Passman — a travelling Cantor with a voice like Pavarotti’s, who made his way from Johannesburg to Cape Town, and even spent some time in America. According to Sean, rumour has it that at the age of 14, Jack had his own choir. He would write music while travelling, and although Sean was young at the time of his dad’s passing, the memories are captured in the music sheets he still has in his possession today. 

If his grandfather’s passion for Judaism is anything to go by, I have no doubt that David and his family will find their way into the Cape Town Jewish community, when they’re ready and in their own time. 

But for now, keep an eye on this brilliant goalkeeper’s career, the Jewish one from Durbanville.

• Published in the February 2023 Digital Edition – Click here to read it.

• To advertise in the Cape Jewish Chronicle and on this website – kindly contact Lynette Roodt on 021 464 6736 or email For more information and advertising rate card click here.

Sign up for our newsletter and never miss another issue.

• Please support the Cape Jewish Chronicle with a voluntary Subscription for 2023. For payment info click here.

Visit our Portal to the Jewish Community to see a list of all the Jewish organisations in Cape Town with links to their websites.

Follow the Cape Jewish Chronicle: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here