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Alex boy who drowned in Palestine remembered as promising soccer star

Kabelo Masalesa with a trophy after his game on Saturday. The SA team is said to have won 2-1 against the Palestinian team.
Kabelo Masalesa with a trophy after his game on Saturday. The SA team is said to have won 2-1 against the Palestinian team.
Image: Supplied

The 11-year-old from Alexandra who drowned while at a soccer tournament in Palestine, Kabelo Masalesa, has been remembered as a promising soccer star who had a bright future. 

His coach, Phathutshedzo Maseko, had been coaching him for the past three years at his local team, Black Poison. 

“He was a very bubbly child, always smiling and always encouraging his team members. He was a good soul,” Maseko told TimesLIVE. 

Maseko said they were all heartbroken to hear about his death. 

“This is a huge loss for us a team and a community. I can’t express how I feel.”

Maseko said he had to break the tragic news to his teammates who are at home as they were not selected to take part in the tournament. 

“It was really hard to break the news, but I had to do it. I told the team yesterday afternoon and we were all in tears.”

Maseko said the preteen had looked forward to taking part in the tournament. 

“He had promised to score lots of goals for me and said he would bring back a trophy for his parents and team.”

 

Maseko said he will miss the random “I love you coach” texts he received from Masalesa. 

“Every time after a game, he would also say the words. I will miss that a lot,” he said. 

Kabelo None, who coached the boy during preparations for Palestine early this year, described him as a respectful boy who loved soccer. 

“For the four, five months I knew him, he was a bubbly and respectful child. He was very cheerful and soccer was his life.

“I can’t sleep. I think of him and what his family could be going through now. It’s very painful.”

None said Masalesa was a good winger and he will remember how he always expressed his love for his coaches.

“He would never leave without saying ‘I love you, coach’. That's what made him stand out from the rest of the team.”

TimesLIVE 


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