Stars buck the odds

Linda Moreotsene

CAIRO - These have been heady times for Platinum Stars.

Not only has the club's achievements on the field of play exceeded most people's expectations, it has been done with the odds stacked heavily against them.

The Tycoons have had their fair share of upheaval this season. Having three players from the same team involved in accidents in quick succession might indicate that something is not right.

Tshepo Ramokala, Steve Lekoelea and Dingane Masanabo had narrow escapes within days of each other. Right after the Absa Premiership match featuring Miguel Gamondi's side and Moroka Swallows, Ramokala and Lekoelea were involved in crashes that could have been fatal.

As luck would have it, both players suffered no serious injury. They even went on to contribute immensely in the next victorious matches.

However, four days before the team left to clash with Al-Ahly in Cairo, striker Dingane Masanabo walked away from the wreck of his car on the N12, on the same stretch of road that claimed Gift Leremi's life.

"It was raining, and while trying to avoid an erratic driver , I lost control and I remember the car just rolling and rolling. I am told it rolled six times," Masanabo said.

Shaken but unharmed, save for scratches on his legs, Masanabo joined his teammates and travelled to Egypt, this time with a more appreciative outlook.

"It is great that after an experience like that, I have lived to tell the story. I appreciate that I still have a career in soccer. The game [against Ahly] is without a doubt very important but I do see things a lot differently now. There will always be other games, but you just have one life," said Masanabo.

As he and his teammates went through some light training at the Cairo International Stadium on the eve of their momentous clash with Al-Ahly, Masanabo, and perhaps the other two, appreciates more than ever that it had not all ended in tears.