Soccer star, family missing

Sello Rabothata

Sello Rabothata

Just two days after the shock news of the death of Gift Leremi, another Premier Soccer League star player has gone missing without a trace.

Black Leopards' Mozambican international defender, Fernando Matola, has been missing since Sunday when he left for his hometown. He was responding to a call-up by the national team for a Ghana 2008 Afcon qualifier against Tanzania this weekend.

The 25-year-old player who joined Lidodha Duvha about four seasons ago was with his wife and two children when he left Makhado on Sunday morning promising to call later in the day on arrival in Mozambique. His wife Sheila Mavila and children Pala, five, and one-year-old old Fernando junior were with him.

Apparently they never arrived in Maputo and there is no record of them having crossed the border to that country.

Leopards' publicist, Tshifiwa "Chief" Thidiela, confirmed yesterday that they have been searching for the player since Sunday when there was no contact.

"Police in the province and members of the community have been helping us in the search, but so far it has been futile. We are worried," said Thidiela.

"Both his and his wife's cellphones have been off since the weekend and that makes it all the more frustrating.

"We have tried following the route he took in order to retrace his steps, but to no avail. We are now appealing to the nation to join us in the search," the soft-spoken Thidiela said.