Following a break-in last Friday where suspects stormed into the premises and robbed Bafana Bafana legends Aaron “Mbazo” Mokoena and David Nyathi at gunpoint, the South African Football Association (Safa) is tightening and intensifying security at their technical centre in Fun Valley.
Sunday World reported at the weekend that gun-wielding suspects pounced on retired defenders, robbing them of valuables like watches, laptops, and cellphones, and holding security guards hostage.
In addition, the thugs demanded Mokoena’s car keys before stowing their stolen goods in the car they used to escape.
About R70m was spent on the resort
The federation uses the resort to house junior national teams, coaches, and some administrative staff members, for which Safa spent about R70-million in 2015.
The resort’s purpose is to serve as Safa’s one-stop centre for lodging, conference space, and training.
Following the break-in, worries were raised about the security of the other national teams as well as the personnel who are housed at the venue for training sessions and games.
The association’s officials were called to the facility in the early hours of Friday, shortly after the incident occurred. Among them were Bhudda Mathathe, a member of the national executive committee, and Gronie Hluyo, Safa’s chief financial officer.
Legends are recovering well
“The situation was very traumatising when I arrived. The two legends are recovering well from the ordeal, they were also traumatised by the whole thing,” Hluyo told Sunday World.
“The guys from Tracker found Mokoena’s car and brought it to the Eldorado Park police station. The plan now is to beef up security at Fun Valley and to have more guards patrolling.
“Security and police need to be visible, especially at night because the place is in an isolated area. This will allay the fears of our team members who camp at the venue.”
Nyathi is a well-known retired defender who was a member of the illustrious squad that won the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations competition, and Mokoena is a former Bafana captain who currently holds the record for the most caps earned by any African player.
The national association appointed the pair in 2023 as chief and assistant chief scouts, respectively.
The resort was popular in the 1990s
In December, Safa vice-president Linda Zwane revealed that Nyathi was identified to take over as SA Under-17 coach.
The 38-hectare property, situated on the Golden Highway in the south of Johannesburg, was very popular in the 1990s.
Visitors are still welcomed into the facility for day and overnight visits in the other section of the resort.