Soccer chiefs address mourners at stadium

FINAL GOODBYE: Zola Tshetlo, Reitumetse Tshetlo and Sonnyboy Mmatli, an Ellis Park Disaster Co-ordinator, at the last disaster memorial service held at Ellis Park Stadium. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 11/04/07. © Sowetan.
FINAL GOODBYE: Zola Tshetlo, Reitumetse Tshetlo and Sonnyboy Mmatli, an Ellis Park Disaster Co-ordinator, at the last disaster memorial service held at Ellis Park Stadium. Pic. Antonio Muchave. 11/04/07. © Sowetan.

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

The yearly commemoration of the victims of the stampede at Ellis Park Stadium saw its last ceremony yesterday when Irvin Khoza, Orlando Pirates chairman, declared it a day of closure.

Speaking at the stadium six years after the stampede that resulted in the deaths of 43 people, Khoza said: "We saw it fit to share with the families in their sadness, but it is also our responsibility to bring happiness and therapy to the families."

Khoza said that over the years it had been realised that the time would come when families would individually commemorate the lost lives of their loved ones.

"We saw it fit to share with the families in their sadness but it is also our responsibility to bring happiness and therapy to the families," he said.

Khoza thanked everyone who had been involved during the accident and those who had continued to help afterwards.

Kaizer Motaung, Kaizer Chiefs' boss, said at the ceremony that the event was still puzzling six years later. He said he was still puzzled by the cause of the stampede.

"But some things are just a force of nature and seem to occur at the same time. Just like the tsunamis that we see happening now," he said.

Motaung said the deceased had made a contribution to the development of soccer.

He reminded the crowd that a similar tragedy had happened at a match between the two teams in Orkney in 1991.

"We have spoken to Irvin [Khoza] about also putting a memorial there to commemorate those victims," he said.

Family members, players, officials and supporters of both teams gathered to witness the last inception of the ceremony.

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