Thu Oct 27 09:09:59 SAST 2016

Salutes pour in for young talent many feel would have played major role in SA's World Cup plans

By unknown | Sep 06, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Condolences are still pouring in for Mamelodi Sundowns star Gift Leremi, who died in a car accident on Monday night.

Sport and Recreation Minister Makhenkesi Stofile said: "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come." [Isaiah 57:1]

"The death of Gift Leremi, former Orlando Pirates and currently Sundowns soccer player, is not only the loss for his family and the Mamelodi football outfit, but for the rest of South Africa as well.

"It grieves me profusely as the minister of sport and recreation to learn that the player had only arrived back in the country from his African continental engagement yesterday with the Sundowns team when he met his sudden and tragic death."

"There is no doubt that Gift formed part of a nucleus of the Bafana Bafana plans for the 2010 Fifa World Cup establishment.

"Gift had a huge natural talent and the only soccer player who could score goals with both feet.

"On behalf of the South African sporting community we would like to say to the family, friends and Sundown's players, Akuhlanga LungehliyoMawethu. Lalani Ngenxeba."

Irvin Khoza, chairman of Orlando Pirates, described Leremi as a highly talented player with the potential to represent Bafana Bafana in the 2010 World Cup.

"I still remember, when he was still with us, he would always come to me and say "timer" (father), I need money to go and see my mother in Orange Farm.

"He was exceptionally arrogant on the field of play and a rare talent capable of using both feet.

"Our condolences to his family and Mamelodi Sundowns," said Khoza.

Danny Jordaan, chief executive officer of the World Cup Local Organising Committee, said: "It is always tragic when a young person dies, and more so with Gift, who did so much for our Under-23 and Bafana Bafana sides.

"He has had his troubles and at one stage his professional career was in jeopardy.

"But, Gift recently said representing his country and playing in the 2010 Fifa World Cup were some of the main reasons he came back to football.

"We are extremely sad that he won't get to fulfil his dream of playing in the World Cup in South Africa in 2010."

Gauteng MEC for sports, arts, culture and recreation, Barbara Creecy said they learnt with great shock and sadness of the sudden death of Leremi.

"We join the rest of South Africa in mourning the loss of this young sportsman, who played tirelessly for the good of the game.

"As we mourn his death, let us also pay tribute to his excellent football skills that he used so effectively to entertain the people. His presence in the middle field will be sadly missed."

Former multiple world boxing champion Jacob "Baby-Jake" Matlala said: "On behalf of the boxing fraternity, we would like to pass our condolences to the Leremi family, also adding that the death of their son is not only their loss nor that of football only.

"It is a loss for sports in general. Some of us have been following the progress of this young man as he entertained us on the field of play."

Other people who sent their condolences were Pimville Young Stars owner Phudi Ditsheho, Athletic South Africa president Leonard Chuene, Sascoc board member Malumbete Ralethe and Peter Thage, from full-contact karate.


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