Today is an historic day in the African football calendar, as 24 countries gather in the West African country of Ivory Coast for the 34th edition of the Africa Cup Nations. Equally so, 13 January is a significant day every year in South Africa, particularly for Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates as we remember the terrible tragedy that befell us in the mining town of Orkney in the North West 33 years ago.
The 1991 Orkney disaster was a tragic event that deeply impacted Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, the football fraternity, and the nation as a whole.
It was during a pre-season friendly match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates at the Oppenheimer Stadium that the lives of 42 supporters were lost as a result of a crowd stampede. The incident left an indelible mark on South African football and led to widespread mourning and reflection.
Kaizer Chiefs, as a Club deeply rooted in the community and with a long-standing legacy in South African football, will never forget the events of that fateful day. In remembrance of the Orkney disaster, the Club takes various steps around the time of each and every anniversary to reflect and honour the memory of those who lost their lives.
One of the ways in which Kaizer Chiefs commemorates the Orkney disaster over the years is by holding memorial events to pray and pay tribute to the victims and their families. These events serve as an opportunity for the Club, players, and supporters to come together and remember those who tragically lost their lives that day.
Moreover, Kaizer Chiefs has always been actively involved in initiatives aimed at promoting stadium safety and security to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. The Club has consistently emphasised the importance of ensuring the well-being and safety of all supporters to attend matches in a secure environment.
The Club has worked hard to raise awareness about the Orkney and Ellis Park disasters and their significance in the history of South African football. We want to ensure that the story of the Orkney disaster is never forgotten. The Club aims to promote a culture of remembrance and respect for those football lovers who lost their lives.
As 33 years have passed, Kaizer Chiefs continues to honour the memory of the Orkney disaster and its enduring resonance within the football community. Through remembrance, outreach, and advocacy for safety measures, the Club stands as a pillar of support and compassion, committed to ensuring that the legacy of the 42 supporters is kept alive.