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ELLIS PARK DISASTER MARKS 17 YEARS

Today, Wednesday, 11 April, marks 17 years since the Ellis Park Disaster.

The disaster is one of the darkest moments in South African football history which claimed the lives of 43 football fans who were attending a Soweto derby fixture between rivals Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, but never made it back home.

About 60,000 spectators filled up the stadium to capacity, but a further 30,000 fans tried to force their way into the arena, causing a stampede.

Despite commemorations in the past years, the PSL says it has no plans in place to commemorate the tragedy that transpired this day in 2001.

This has sparked a lot of backlash from the football mass who claim that a lack of sincerity has been shown for the fallen football lovers.

Despite the criticism, Amakhosi boss Kaizer Motaung Snr spared a moment of sympathy to the families of the deceased.

He told his club’s website: “This day, 11 April, is significant and will forever be in our memories. This is a constant reminder to ensure that proper security measures are put in place at the stadiums. I will not forget this day; I get flashbacks when I remember the 43 people that died on this day. This is a heart-breaking part of our football history.

“Once more, I want to convey my message of sympathy to the families and friends that lost their loved ones in the disaster. Words fail me; I still can’t believe the disaster happened. No words can describe how much I feel about it. This event was regrettable and we pay respect to the departed souls and the bereaved who had to endure this painful experience.

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“The disaster taught us many things. From the disaster we learned the hard way to plan our match events thoroughly to avoid the repeat of this fateful night. I wish the families well and strength during this sad reminder.

“It is a coincidence that this time the disaster day falls within the period of mourning for the passing of Mama Winnie Mandela. This day cannot be work as usual at the Village, we will observe the day in the headquarters with the players and staff observing a moment of silence. We will amplify via various media our solidarity with the bereaved families and friends.

“On behalf of the Kaizer Chiefs family, I wish to convey my utmost sympathy to the bereaved. I hope with this as a constant reminder, we will continue to work hard to tighten the planning for safety at match events.”

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