Grieving Tornado delay tie
Its Amavarara fixture to be played at a later date
The ABC Motsepe league clash between Tornado and Amavarara has been postponed to give grief-stricken Tornado players an opportunity to pay homage to their late owner.
This was confirmed by Safa provincial secretary Isaac Klaas who revealed that the club had requested the postponement of the match that was scheduled to be held at Dumpy Adams stadium in Queenstown.
“We have granted Tornado their request to postpone the match because we understand their situation,” said Klaas.
The match has now been rescheduled for March 20.
Tornado owner Siphiwo “Mawawa” Nyobo was gunned down while driving out of North End Stadium in East London shortly after his team had walloped Birmingham City 4-1 to consolidate their position at the top of the league.
While the tragedy unfolded at a soccer event Klaas has appealed to people not to associate it with an argument around football and, instead, to accept that there were other motives to consider.
“People must desist from commenting negatively about this and relate it to football because this man contributed immensely to football development in this country,” he said.
Since the incident the players have been undergoing counselling sessions, unable to cope with seeing their boss being gunned down in broad daylight.
Klaas condemned the senseless killing of the 68-year-old man he described as his friend and one of the champions of football development in the country.
“The way Mawawa’s life was taken has left us all in disbelief, especially since this happened at one of our stadiums,” he said.
“His sad passing has affected the entire football fraternity.”
Since the tragedy the players and coaching staff have been banned from speaking to the media.
“Players witnessed this shameful crime, and the family told us that the entire team was not coping after the incident and they needed some time to regroup.
“The Nyobo family also asked the association and the Department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture to help them get group counselling for their players and staff.
There have been concerns in soccer circles over the survival of the club with even provincial sport, recreation, arts and culture MEC Bulelwa Thunyiswa encouraging Nyobo’s family to carry on with his work.
Klaas said he hoped Nyobo’s death will not spell the end of the Tornado.
“We hope someone in the family will be able to carry the baton and forge a way forward for Tornado.
“Because this man was a real pillar to that team,” he said.
Police are currently investigating a murder charge and Klaas is appealling to the public to let the law run its course.
The death has reinforced security fears in soccer stadiums especially at a time when teams are chasing playoff spots to secure promotion to the upper lucrative league.
But Klaas distanced Safa from the blame insisting that security at stadiums was the prerogative of the clubs.
“We always encourage clubs to give the police their fixtures so the cops could be visible during games and this includes ambulances services,” he reasoned.
“Maybe it’s a lesson that we need to instill in our clubs. But then again, how do you control such a situation like the one we saw this past weekend?
“Maybe if there was more police visibility this wouldn’t have happened. But one thing I know is that when someone is determined to do something bad they go all out, no matter how tight security is at the place.”
He however made a point of emphasising that North End have always met the safety requirements demanded at the stadium in terms of Safa prescripts.
“The turf surface is in a good condition and all the entry and exits are okay,” said Klaas...