Tributes pour in for soccer star, Mondli Cele

Tributes pour in for soccer star, Mondli Cele

KZN premier Senzo Mchunu, the DA, and the NFP joined others on Sunday in paying tribute to Pietermaritzburg United striker Mondli Cele.

Mondli Cele
Gallo Images

He died in a car accident early on Sunday morning.

Cele, together with an SABC sport reporter, who was also an occupant of the vehicle, died on the scene, while two other occupants were injured when the car they were driving in was involved in a crash.

The accident happened a few hours after Cele scored the opening goal in a match between Pietermaritzburg United and Orlando Pirates on Saturday night.

The police investigation’s preliminary report indicated that a Nissan Almera veered off the road, overturned, and plunged into a river.

Mchunu said he was shocked and saddened at Cele’s tragic death.

“It is a tragic death by any imagination to lose such a young and promising talent. The way he played and contributed to his team efforts against Orlando Pirates on Saturday, made us to expect for more from him,” the premier said.

“As a province, we are deeply hurt by the sudden departure of this young talent, a role model and an inspiration to other young soccer players in the province. In spite of this sadness, [the] nation can draw strength and comfort from the fact that he met his death after playing a game of his life.

“We have seen the talent. Much as we [could] have wished for more, it is with great pain that we have to accept that he is gone. We take this opportunity to convey words of condolences to his family, his team, his fans, and the entire soccer fraternity and the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

“He will forever exist in our collective minds, and his contributions will never be forgotten,” Mchunu said.

KwaZulu-Natal DA leader Zwakele Mncwango also sent heartfelt condolences and sympathies to Cele’s family.

“Our hearts go out to the team for losing a player, a family for losing a son, who perished in a car accident, right after a thrilling match between Orlando Pirates at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday night.

“It is so sad that the player had just been on the field, even scoring a goal, dies right after the match in a car accident. As the province we have lost a bright shining star and we would like to give comfort to the team and the family during this difficult time,” Mncwango said.

NFP Youth Movement KwaZulu-Natal chairperson and MPL Njabulo Mlaba said it was a sudden blow to lose an energetic, talented young man after he had scored some important, spectacular goals for his team.

“Our sincere, heartfelt condolences as [the] National Freedom Party goes to the family, Maritzburg United team, as well as all football lovers and supporters. The nation has lost [a] great sportsman who was talented and dedicated. You will always be in our memories. May your soul rest in peace Lala Ngoxolo Mondli Cele,” Mlaba said.

Photo: Gallo Images

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