A tribute to our fallen heroes
A tribute to our fallen heroes

Posted in News on Apr 10, 2002.

Kaizer Chiefs managing director Kaizer Motaung paid an emotional tribute to the victims of the April 11 soccer stampede saying those who died during the stampede will always be remembered.


Beloved families, Honourable Minister of Sport, Mr Ngconde Balfour, Gauteng MEC for Sport Mr Mondli Gungubele, Chairman of Orlando Pirates, Mr Irvin Khoza, Managing Director of Ellis Park Stadium, Mr Jomo Kong, Religious Leaders here today, Club representatives and members of the BOG , players of both Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, members of the media, Master of ceremonies, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I greet you in the name of our wonderful God who has looked after us all the time until this day.

I stand here before you particularly touched by the sight of many of us who were here on this day last year when the country and the world witnessed the saddest moment ever to face our beautiful game of soccer here at Ellis Park stadium. We have gone through 12 months of the pain, and some of us were traumatized by the visions of that fateful night. To some of us these memories are still very vivid and strong.

We have come here today to pay tribute to those 43 fallen heroes of our game who died in the heat of what they loved and lived for, the game of football. We shall remember them always together with those that got injured in that sad stampede.

As we stand here in front of this gate today, we proclaim a wish to the Almighty God to grant us a seal of the healing process, as we complete a year of mourning for our beloved friends. Most importantly, our standing here today also signifies a desire for peace and comfort with the families of those who fell on this place.

To the families of the victims of the stampede, this day also marks a humble purpose to reconnect, and fellowship with you in memory of your sons and daughters.

Mr Master of Ceremonies, I would be failing in my duty if I do not highlight the fact that, though the final report on the findings and recommendations of the Commission on the Ellis Park disaster have not been made public yet, we have indeed, been very cautious and sensitive in our approach to our games, in particular the Chiefs-Pirates derbies. We have been extremely alert on planning security systems relating specifically to these games.

I want to salute the people that have made changes relating to the derbies in the past twelve months easy to implement, the media, the supporters’ structures of both Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates and other clubs.

Following the tragedy of April 11 last year, the past twelve months have been characterized by a mixture of positive and negative soccer results for the affected clubs on the field of play with reference to events, fixtures and spectacular games.

It gratifies my heart that throughout this mourning period we have always been committed to our mission, that is, to play the games in remembrance of our fallen supporters.

At all our games, supporters could be seen carrying the banner: “Every game, we play for you”.

We solemnly believe that this spiritual connection has gone a long way, in sustaining the dignity and respect our game still has up to this day. Our hearts are filled with sad emotions as we stand here today minus 43 of the supporters who once so loved the game that is in our hands.

We pause a bit as we ponder the words of the prophet Isaiah, chapter 40 verse 31; “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” We trust and hope that such prophecies and their fulfillment are manifested through all affected ones, families and football administrators alike, in times like these.

Our hopes are that all affected individuals receive more strength and never lose hope on the promises of the Giver of Life, the One who is able to keep us from falling, our Almighty God. We pray for the cleansing of our souls and the forgiveness of our sins as we commemorate this tragic event.

In conclusion, we send our gratitude and thanks to all those who grieved with us in the past twelve months and gave us all the love and support needed, particularly the families.

To you families, we pledge our most humble support once more. We thank you for making full use of the Crisis Center that was set up to assist all those affected. As you might know this office is still operational, trying to help wherever possible with the queries you might have.

Beloved friends, from all walks of life, we thank you for having shared this memorable day with us.

I thank you.



Share this article: