The Forgotten #43 of South African Football

Posted: October 24, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,
11 April 2001 and wall of remembrance above gate 11.

11 April 2001 and wall of remembrance above gate 11.


Mduduzi “Sdinglo” Thomo, was one of most feared left backs that played for Crystal Palace FC, a modest club that was based in Jabulani, Soweto. Those who played along and admired him will always remember the reverberating sounds of “Sdlingo uyindoda” from the stands every time he made a bone crunching tackle, feared by strikers and loathed by opposition coaches and yet a gentle giant off the field, sadly this gentle soul was among the 43 that lost his life in one of the worst football disasters that happened on the 11th of April 2001 in a derby match between Kaizer Chiefs FC and Orlando Pirates FC played at Ellis Park stadium.

The commemoration of this event was held and observed every year from 2002 until 2007,then a scandalous joint decision taken by Kaizer Chiefs FC, Orlando Pirates FC and The City of Johannesburg to officially cancel all commemorations in 2007, what utter nonsense and disgrace by the two clubs , both teams have absolved themselves on this matter, showing a total disregard for the families, the supporters and the public in general, its seems as if they want to erase this in everyone’s memory, as they did with the Orkney disaster.

Ironically in the same week, the commemorations of the Hillsborough 96 are held YEARLY without fail, the tributes at Anfield are incredibly powerful and moving, the rendition of “ you’ll never walk alone” will make ones hair stand up at the back of the neck unless you’ve got I-Chiskop, multitude of events are held in an around England, it has become Liverpool’s  tradition that is harnessed by the club, the fans and the nation, football helps to  build the moral fibre of society and drives social cohesion, so common sense must prevail between the City of Johannesburg and the two clubs to reconsider their decision of abandoning  their obligation to the families and the nation, our football deserve to recognise this day PROPERLY.

Even the Premier Soccer League needs to play a pivotal role to acknowledge the day, as some of the outcomes of Judge Ngoepe’s findings on the inquiry to the disaster helped to transform the landscape of our football. So the PSL cannot negate its duties, it must  sanction both clubs to play a charity match (Instead of the BEER CUP), where all proceedings and commercial gains be donated to the family trust, and must make sure that a proper monument  is erected in front of GATE 11, which will become a stark reminder of the true cost of the disaster.

Let’s not forget the FORGOTTEN 12 fans that we crushed to death in 1965 in a stampede at Park station after the Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates FC and Moroka Swallows FC, Let’s not forget the FORGOTTEN 42 fans that died after crowd violence sparked a stampede at a preseason friendly between Orlando Pirates FC and Kaizer Chiefs FC at Orkney Stadium. Let’s not FORGET the Ellis Park #43.

To all the families that lost their loved ones, lets honour them with the greatest humility and harness the spirit of UBUNTU that we so embodied , to my friend and team mate Mduduzi “Sdlingo” Thomo, Ndabane, Qhulaza, Ntshikila, Ndabezitha, njojo kamkhwane, you will be honoured respectfully one day.





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