CAF president mourns death of Richards Bay FC star midfielder

Confederation of African Football (CAF) president Patrice Motsepe has sent condolences to the family of Richards Bay FC player Siphamandla Mtolo.

The 29-year-old star midfielder collapsed and died during a training session on Tuesday morning, his club confirmed this week.

In a statement on Thursday, Richards Bay FC said Mtolo’s memorial service will take place at the Nkobongo Community Hall in Shakaskraal on Saturday. His funeral service will be held the next day at the Nkobongo Sports Ground.

“Dr Motsepe and the CAF family mourn the tragic passing of a player who played a meaningful role in helping his club, Richards Bay FC, gain promotion to the elite league [Premier Soccer League],” CAF said in a statement. 

“CAF conveys deepest condolences to the family of Siphamandla Mtolo, the South African Football Association, the PSL, and Richards Bay FC family during this difficult moment.”

During a Nedbank Cup media briefing in Parktown, Johannesburg on Wednesday, Kaizer Chiefs assistant coach Dillon Sheppard expressed shock at Mtolo’s sudden death.

“My sincere condolences to Mtolo and [the] Richards Bay family, it’s a heavy loss. We’ve lost a soldier. He played a huge part in the team coming up from the NFD [national first division] as captain,” Sheppard said.

Spepe, as Mtolo was affectionately known, played his last professional football match during a 1-0 narrow defeat to Chiefs at the weekend.

The cause of Mtolo’s death remains unknown, as the family and club are still waiting for an official report from the hospital. Richards Bay have since asked for privacy.

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