shock over Leremi advert

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

Ramatsiyi Moholoa

South African soccer star Gift Leremi may have died three years ago in a car crash but his spirit lives on in Switzerland.

Gama Sports, organisers of Tuesday night's international friendly between Bafana Bafana and Portugal, used an action picture of Leremi in national colours to advertise the clash to the locals.

On all the promotional materials for the game, including press cards, the organisers pitted Leremi against Pepe, the Brazilian- born defender who is also doing duty for Real Madrid in Spain.

Approached for comment, Bafana Bafana manager Sipho Nkumane said they were equally shocked and embarrassed when they saw a photo of Leremi being used to promote the match at Stade de Olympique.

For the record, Portugal won the match 2-0.

"On our arrival on Sunday, we were equally surprised to see the organisers had unilaterally decided to use the photo of Gift. We immediately brought it to their attention that the player is dead," explained Nkumane.

"The organisers have promised to issue an apology and were prepared to send it to the Leremi family because what happened came as a shock to all of us.

"They informed us they got the picture from the Fifa website. We are still awaiting their apology on the matter."

Miguel Lopes, managing director of the company which organised the game, said they were not aware the player whose photo had been used to promote the game was dead.

"When we signed the contract for the game with Raymond Hack [Safa chief executive], one of our graphic experts decided to go to the Fifa website to search for a picture of a Bafana Bafana player to be used with that of Ronaldo.

"It was a genuine mistake on our part, we were not aware that the player used is dead and we are sorry," Lopes said.

Leremi died on September 3 2007 on his way home. At the time of his death, he was doing duty for Mamelodi Sundowns, the club he joined from Orlando Pirates.