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Football | Absa Premiership

Ellis Park disaster remembered

The 17-year anniversary of the Ellis Park disaster has been marked with a number of tributes on social media as clubs and fans remember the 43 who died in the biggest tragedy to befall South African football.

The supporters were crushed in a stampede during a Soweto Derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs on April 11, 2001, as fraudulent tickets meant that too many people entered the stadium.

The 60 000-seater venue was already full when an estimated 30 000 more fans tried to gain entry, with inadequate security unable to stem the flow, leading to the massive loss of life.

“Today we remember the supporters who tragically lost their lives during the Ellis Park disaster. They will forever be in our minds ...” the Premier Soccer League tweeted.

Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung admits he is still scarred by that night as fans came to the stadium for entertainment and never went home.

“This day, 11 April, is significant and will forever be in our memories,” Motaung was quoted on the club’s website. “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.

“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.”

Pirates took to Twitter to list the names of the 43 fans who dies, some children, along with the words: “In commemoration of the football fans who lost their lives on 11.04.2001. We shall never forget.”


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