As today marks 15 years since 43 people tragically lost their lives during a crowd stampede at Ellis Park Stadium during the Soweto derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, Amakhosi goalkeeper coach Brian Baloyi says this day will never be forgotten.
“I remember that we scored early in the game but our lead didn’t last long as Pirates equalised a few minutes later,” Baloyi told the official Chiefs website.
“I saw commotion behind my poles. I struggled to concentrate on the game, as I realised something was not right behind me. Then, the referee brought the game to a halt. He explained to us that there was still a large crowd outside the stadium and they were rushing people through the gates.”
“A few minutes later, we saw people running all over. People were being let on the pitch for safety reasons, because of the stampede on the stands, while others were helplessly carried to the pitch. That’s when we knew things were bad and the match was stopped.
“It’s something that we will never forget. What happened that evening will forever stay with us.
“We will continue to keep the bereaved and the injured in our prayers. To date, when any form of agitation erupts at the stadium, we experience flashbacks. The people who died paid with their dear lives for the love of the game. We hope that we will not see something like that happening again. The stadium must be a place where people can enjoy a game in safe conditions.”
Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung paid tribute to the fans who lost their lives on that fateful day on April 11, 2001.
“We will always remember this date. To the families who lost loved ones, we wish them strength during this time. May the peace of the Lord be with them now and forever more.”