Soweto rivals remember Ellis Park disaster
By MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – KAIZER Chiefs and Orlando Pirates have paid homage to the families of the 43 soccer fans killed during a stamped at the Ellis Park exactly 16 years ago.
The fans perished after an estimated crowd of 120 000, double the capacity of the facility, crammed into the ellis Park Stadium for the Soweto Derby featuring the two sides.
Chiefs Chairman, Kaizer Motaung, described the ensuing bloodbath that fateful evening as “one of the saddest days” in South African football.
“It is a fateful day where supporters lost their lives for the love of soccer and their favourite teams,” said Motaung.
“This is one event that always reminds us of who we are and how far we’ve come to be here,” added Motaung.
“Such events always refresh our humility before the Almighty, whose ever presence carries us through the good and the dark days. This indeed was one of the darkest days and we will never ever forget
The technical team and players held a moment of silence on Tuesday morning after their training session.
Pirates also gave a somber tribute, posting on their website, “They say time heals all wounds but this is one wound which cannot be healed.”
The Buccaneers described the tragedy as one of South Africa’s worst sporting disasters.
Pirates reiterated such a tragedy should never repeat itself again.
The team also remembered the country had already witnessed a stadium tragedy in the Orkney Disaster of 1991 – where 41 supporters lost their lives in another match featuring the two sides.
“These two disasters serve as a constant reminder of what should never happen again in our lifetime,” Pirates stated.
Pirates will play the league encounter against Maritzburg Stadium on Tuesday night in memory of the departed fans.
– CAJ News
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