South African football has been blessed with skillful footballers from the early days of the formation of professional league up until today. During the years we have lost a lot of footballers due to death and it is now that we look at their contribution to our football that it is today.
The late Sizwe Motaung was one of the most talented right back during his playing day. He was the best in the country in the right back position. He played for a few teams in South African football which includes, Jomo Cosmos FC, Mamelodi Sundowns FC, Kaizer Chiefs FC, and Orlando Pirates FC. He also played in Europe FC St. Gallen and CD Tenerife where he was afforded UEFA Cup and La Liga experience. Sizwe was part of the Bafana Bafana team that won the AFCON 1996. That is up to date, the only successful group in the history of our national team. Unfortunately he died at age 31 due to an illness and we were still waiting for more from him as he was very talented and there was still a lot he could offer the country. Maybe if he was still alive our football would not be in such a bad state.
The late Emanuel Scara Ngobese was also one of the skillful midfielders in the country. He played for a few teams in the country which includes United FC, Thanda Royal Zulu FC, Tembisa Classic FC, Hellenic FC, Moroka Swallows FC, and Kaizer Chiefs FC. He also played for the national team. Scara was a crowd puller as his skills were rare and a lot of people used to be surprised by the way he controlled the ball while doing his tricks. The most important thing is that he used his skills and tricks while moving forward with the ball, he never did his skills just for the fun of it. Unfortunately death claimed him at the age of 30, when a lot of people were still expecting the more matured Ngobese. We really miss Ngobese.
The late Lesley Manyathela was one of the best few strikers that South Africa ever produced. He had vision for scoring goals. Lesley was the best goal scorer during his playing days. He played for Orlando Pirates FC and during his passing he was due to move to a French team. Lesley played for Bafana Bafana on a few occasions and was also scoring important goal for our national team. He died at age 21 and a lot was still expected from the striker. During his career at Orlando Pirates FC, Lesley scored 22 goals in one season in the Premier Soccer League. The league honoured him with naming the leading goal scorer category “The Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot Award”. Our football has never been the same without him and up to today, there is no striker who equaled his 22 goals tally in a season. South Africa lost one the best strikers in him.
The late Gift Leremi was also a skillful midfielder in South Africa. He played for Orlando Pirates FC and Mamelodi Sundowns FC. He was part of the Bafana Bafana setup and the national team was building the team around him. He died at the age of 23 and a lot was still expected from the young Gift Leremi. Gift died through a car accident and his death was a shock to the South African football as a whole. He just moved from Orlando Pirates to Mamelodi Sundowns during his passing.
The late Senzo Meyiwa was a great goalkeeper for Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana. Senzo was the captain of both Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana during his passing. Senzo was killed during a robbery in Vosloorus in 2014 at the age of 27. His death was very painful to the football fraternity around the world. South Africans were still expecting more from him and his lost played a role in the decline of the standard of the country’s football. Senzo came through the development ranks of Orlando Pirates FC. His career was at a pick stage during his passing. He was at his best. He played an integral part in Orlando Pirates FC campaign in their double treble winning in 2 seasons. He was also instrumental in the CAF Champions League campaign where Orlando Pirates managed to reach the finals of the competition after 18 years of winning it in 1995.
Recently we just lost Cecil Lolo and Mondi Cele. They died through car accidents and a lot was still expected from the youngsters. South African football has experienced a lot of setbacks due to the loss of young players and the country is yet to recover from these loses. There is no way South Africans will forget about their fallen footballers. We will always remember them at all times.