Muggers kill soccer player

2009-03-23 00:00

LOCAL football team Maritzburg City is mourning the loss of mid-fielder Khumbulani Luthuli, who was stabbed to death by muggers in Deanery Lane in the early hours of Saturday morning.

SAPS spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said Luthuli (24) was walking along the lane, which runs between Pietermaritz and Berg streets, with his girlfriend when a group of people approached them and demanded clothing and valuables.

Luthuli and his girlfriend complied and handed everything over, but Luthuli was assaulted by three men before one of them pulled out a knife and stabbed him in the chest. The gang then ran off.

Jeevan says investigations by local detectives led police to the Smero area.

"A breakthrough was made and a 23-year-old suspect was found in possession of the deceased's takkies and arrested," she said.

Two other suspects, also in possession of items stolen from the couple, were arrested a short while later.

The suspects will appear in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court shortly, said Jeevan. Further arrests are expected.

MCFC coach Reggie Shelembe said Luthuli's death is a big loss for the club.

"As a footballer, he had a good chance of making it to the top. There was a plan in the pipeline to get him to try out for Bloemfontein Celtic," he said.

Shelembe says Luthuli was a humble and respectful young man who will be sorely missed. He sent his condolences to the Luthuli family and said Luthuli will never be forgotten.

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