The South African Football Association (SAFA) is mourning the death of two players from the SAFA OR Tambo region in the Eastern Cape. The players, seventeen-year-old Mveliso Tshola and sixteen-year-old Vuyolwethu Valelo, were members of the Qina Football Club, playing under the Qaukeni Local Football Association in the Qina Village.
The two players were at the Chief Mwelo Football Grounds (named after SAFA Vice President Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana) with their teammates on Sunday, November 21 waiting for their league fixture against local side Roman Aces FC when lightning struck both players.
The memorial service for the two players was held on Thursday, November 25. Both were pupils of the Mwelo Junior Secondary School, with Tshola in Grade 8 and Valelo in Grade 7.
“These boys were from a poor background, and we only discovered now that they didn’t have parents so it was a struggle to put together their burial and memorial services. But as teachers and as a school we were able to make some donation to ensure they get a proper and decent send off. We would like to also thank everyone that assisted,” said school Principal Monde Zoko.
Tshola and Valelo will be laid to rest on different days.
Tshola will be buried on Saturday, November 27 in the Qina Village. The funeral service will start at 10am and will leave for the local cemetery at 1pm.
Valelo’s burial service will be held on Sunday, November 28 at the Xopozo Administrative Area, starting at 10am and ending with a funeral procession to the cemetery at 1pm.
“On behalf of the South African Football Association, we would like to send our deepest condolences to the family, relatives and friends of the deceased. Our thoughts are with them, as an Association and a country, we have lost aspiring footballers, and may their souls rest in peace,” said SAFA Vice President Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana.
Nonkonyana has also urged schools to affiliate to the South African Schools Football Association so they can be comprehensively ensured.