Ex-Bafana star Maimane Phiri shot in tavern in Alex, before assailant turned gun on himself
Former Bafana Bafana midfield star Maimane Phiri was shot twice in an incident in the tavern he owns in Alexandra on Thursday night where another victim was killed, and where the assailant then turned the gun on himself.
Police have confirmed the incident, which they say occurred at about 7pm on Thursday night and where one victim was killed and two, including Phiri, were injured, and the assailant then killed himself. The victim and assailant died in hospital.
The armed assailant apparently chased his girlfriend into the tavern where the owner, Phiri, and patrons he was sitting at a table with, attempted to intervene and were shot.
Phiri’s sister, Eleanor Phiri confirmed the ex-Jomo Cosmos and Moroka Swallows star escaped with non-life-threatening injuries, having been shot in the arm and leg. She said Phiri was in a stable condition in Milpark Hospital on Thursday morning.
SA Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Lt Col Mavela Masondo said via WhatsApp that a “preliminary investigation revealed that a third person was also shot by the suspect. He is in a critical condition in hospital.”
Masondo sent a statement that read: “Police have opened a case of murder, attempted murder and an inquest docket after a man allegedly shot two people and shot himself in Alexandra on Thursday, December 30 2021, at approximately 7pm.
“It is reported that the suspect was carrying a firearm chasing his girlfriend in a tavern in Alexandra.
“The owner of a tavern and another man tried to stop the suspect. The suspect shot the tavern owner in the arm and lower body and shot the other man on the upper body before turning the gun on himself.
“All three men were taken to hospital. The suspect and the other man died in hospital while the tavern owner was admitted in a serious but stable condition.”
Eleanor Phiri told TimesLIVE on Friday morning that when the assailant ran into the tavern Maimane approached the man, who he knows, and tried to reason with him.
She said the victim who died and other the injured victim were friends of Maimane.
“He shot three guys, my brother and two of his friends,” Eleanor said.
“Because Maimane knows the guy, it was a matter of approaching him and trying to calm him, trying to understand, ‘Why are you doing this, why are you trying to shoot her? Please stop’. But he couldn’t.”
Maimane Phiri played more than 300 top-flight games in the 1990s and 2000s for clubs including Cosmos, Gençlerbirliği in Turkey, Ajax Cape Town and Swallows. He played 13 times for Bafana.
The ex-player organises the hugely popular annual Maimane Alfred Phiri (Maps) Games in Alexandra.