Today, 13 January marks 29 years since that fatal day that saw 42 supporters lose their lives at the overcrowded Oppenheimer Stadium in Orkney in 1991. It was during a pre-season friendly match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates when fans started rioting, leading to a stampede after Fani Madida had scored Amakhosi’s leading goal.
“It is imperative to remember our fallen heroes and not forget that they died for the love of the beautiful game,” says Chairman Kaizer Motaung about the Orkney disaster. “It is even more important in this 50th year of Kaizer Chiefs to remember all those important days in our history. We should not only celebrate the good but commemorate and remember those who played a role in getting us to where we are today.”
Chiefs legends and players visited the venue in the North West Province to honour and pay tribute to those who lost their lives. They laid flowers at the monument just outside the stadium, which was erected in remembrance of the supporters that passed away in the tragic incident.
The delegation was led by Football Manager Bobby Motaung. Legends who were there today included Donald ‘Ace’ Khuse, William Shongwe, Rudolph Gardner Seale, Wellington Manyathi, Ntsie Maphike and Abel Shongwe. They were accompanied by Ryder Mofokeng who was assistant coach, Cecil Motaung and Mncedisi ‘Shosho’ MacKenzie. These former players and administrators were in the team that travelled to Orkney in 1991.
Current players who attended the ceremony included Khama Billiat, Bruce Bvuma, Lazalous Kambole, Joseph Molangoane, Lorenzo Gordinho and others.
“We will continue to remember this dark day in our history,” says Chairman Motaung. “We will continue to work hard to ensure that days such as the Orkney and Ellis Park disasters do not occur again in our football.
“Lastly, we need to once again convey our words of comfort to the families and friends of those who perished in the unfortunate incident.”