Buccaneers in mourning

Mcelwa Nchabeleng

Orlando Pirates' chairman Irvin Khoza yesterday paid tribute to Martha Mokoena, the mother of Lebohang "Cheeseboy" Mokoena, who died on Saturday.

MaMokoena, 49, died after a long illness at the Johannesburg Hospital. Khoza said the burial was likely to be held on Saturday.

Khoza met the talented player at Pirates' offices yesterday to give him his support.

"We are all saddened by the death of Lebo's mother because she was part of Pirates' family," said Khoza.

"I knew his mother when Lebo joined our development team at the age of 13. She was a very supportive mother and we are grateful that she gave us a good player of Lebo's calibre.

"Lebo has been there for his mother through her illness and I was encouraged by the support that he gave her. He is exemplary to other players, that they must take care of their parents.

"We are in prayers with the family and we pray to God to give them strength during this time of grief," he said.

Augusto Palacios, Pirates' head of development, was equally distressed by the death.

Speaking to Sowetan from the family home in Vosloorus yesterday, Palacios said they were doing everything to help the family stay strong.

"I have been here since I received the news of Martha's death and we are all devastated by what has happened. All the players are equally distraught and they support the family. I was with Joseph Makhanya today [yesterday] here and other players will join us as the week progresses," Palacios said.