By NAKAMPE LEKWADU
THE second day of Metropolitan SASFA Under-16 Cup started on a sad note this morning with the death of a 16 year-old player from Limpopo.
The deceased, Andani Kutama of Limpopo’s Benny Sports Academy collapse 13 minutes into play during his school’s match against Freedom Park of North West at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal. He was later rushed to the Prince Mshiyeni Hospital where he was certified dead afterwards.
The ball was out of play when he collapsed and there was no prior contact with the player according to match commissioner.
“We are deeply saddened by his death and send our condolences to the family,” said South African Football Association (SAFA) President Kirsten Nematandani. “News of this nature is heartbreaking and our thoughts are with the family and fellow team members.”
“We will be offering counselling for the team-mates and support staff, who are understandably devastated by this loss. We are waiting for the hospital and family to confirm cause of death,” said President of the South African Schools Football Association (SASFA), Mandla ‘Shoes’ Mazibuko. “I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to the family and wish them strength during this extremely difficult time.”
Tendani Rasikhinya, coach of Benny Sports Academy, said that Andani Kutama was a good player, who was well-respected by his peers. “He was always positive and told lots of jokes. This is a huge shock and totally unexpected. We mourn his death.”
A decision regarding whether the team will continue to participate in the competition is pending and will be made in conjunction with the team players and team management.
Metropolitan CEO, Phillip Matlakala said: “To have a young life snuffed out so prematurely is tragic. We extend our condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time.”
Benny Sports Academy continued on to win the match against Freedom Park 1-0.