A BLACK MONTH OF CRASHES FOR SA SOCCER PLAYERS

Menzi Magubane

NOVEMBER 2020 will go down in South African soccer history as one of the worst months ever – and it’s not about the action on the field.

During the month, six soccer stars were involved in separate car accidents. Four of the players survived with just scratches and bruises – but two stars lost their lives, one of them being Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns defender Anele Ngcongca. The 33-year-old died on Monday morning in Ngwelezane, northern KZN. 

On 6 November, Kaizer Chiefs development player and regular for former national Amajimbos under-17 player James McFarlane, was involved in a fatal crash. The 18-year-old died with two other passengers in Joburg. 

“We have lost a fine prospect and a talented young lad,” said Chiefs assistant coach Arthur Zwane who coached McFarlane during his development coaching days.

Earlier that day, ex-Orlando Pirates and Bidvest Wits player, now with Sundowns, Gift Motupa was also involved in a car crash when his car apparently rolled on the R37. He escaped with just scratches and was treated at the scene. 

On 8 November, Bloemfontein Celtic midfielders Jabulani Ncobeni and Andile Fikizolo survived with just bruises when a tyre burst while driving at night.

“I managed to get control of the steering wheel but the car hit a tree. We were lucky but the car was a write-off,” said Ncobeni.

After hearing about Ngcongca’s passing, Ncobeni said he has had nightmares about his accident.

“I just realised now how lucky we were to survive our crash. Ngcongca’s accident made me realise that” he said.

“People are always quick to assume we were drunk or we were out partying but that is not always the case. Being simply tired from the gym or a match can be the cause as well.”

SuperSport United defender Clayton Daniels’ accident was undocumented but last week his coach Kaitano Tembo was quoted confirming that.

“Clayton didn’t play against Celtic because he was involved in a car accident. He was bumped from behind. He didn’t travel with the team but there was no injury there.”