Wasted promise

2012-05-03 00:00

SOUTH African polo has lost a talented rising star in what his family believe was his alleged killer’s jealousy over a woman.

Sibusiso Duma, the country’s first developmental polo player to rise to international level, was stabbed at Lidgetton, near Howick, on Workers’ Day.

He was 25 years old and awaiting a visa to play in England, where his polo career was expected to to take a big step forward.

Sibusiso’s distraught sister, Sthembile, told The Witness he was killed by the boyfriend of a woman he had dated two years ago.

The woman too was attacked earlier that same day and was hospitalised.

According to a friend who was with Sibusiso on Tuesday afternoon, the attack was unprovoked, Sthembile said.

“This guy apparently just circled Sibusiso and came from behind and pulled a knife and stabbed him. That [first] stab wound was bad.

“He tried to fight but collapsed to the ground on to the road, face first … The attacker was about to flee, but returned and stabbed him several more times, including in the head, while he was already on the ground,” said Sthembile.

Sibusiso suffered five stab wounds, four to his upper body

“This was a vicious attack. He meant to kill him.

“We suspect that his girlfriend had broken up with him again and he blamed Sibusiso,” said Sthembile.

Their family was devastated.

“Our mother is so distraught she won’t eat … We would like that boy to explain; at least that way we could have some semblance of peace.

“What happened is very painful because we do not know why he did it,” said Sthembile.

She added that Sibusiso and the man she believed killed him had exchanged words over the woman about two years ago.

“[Back then] this guy confronted Sibusiso and told him that his girlfriend was breaking up with him because she was now interested in Sibusiso.

“He asked him to leave his girlfriend alone. Sibusiso did not know that the girl had a boyfriend and he called off the relationship. From then on their relationship improved and he would even give Sibusiso lifts in his car.”

Also mourning Sibusiso’s death was the local polo community.

Dieter Rowe-Setz, Sibusiso’s manager and mentor for the last decade, said no words could explain how he felt.

Sibusiso was supposed to have left South Africa for England last week.

“England is where all the important people in polo go to watch. They would have seen his talent and his career would have improved dramatically,” Rowe-Setz explained.

“Everything for him had been set, including his ticket, but there were delays at the high commission with the visa not coming through.”

Rowe-Setz said Sibusiso was part of his family.

“I met him at the Lions River Polo Club where I noticed his talent. He had amazing skill and ball co-ordination.”

Rowe-Setz said he organised a trip for Sibusiso trip to Argentina through the Maybach Foundation.

Clive Peddle of the SA Polo Association called Sibusiso’s death a huge loss for the game.

Sibusiso started playing polo professionally at the Lions River Polo Club at the age of 13. His father was a groom and his mother a domestic worker for farmer, the late Dave Kimber.

Sibusiso’s rise in polo was largely due to talent, determination and a community that supported him to succeed.

His family’s living room was adorned with memorabilia, including trophies, medals, man-of-the-match awards and pictures of him playing polo around the world.

One was of him with Britain’s Princes William and Harry.

Sibusiso represented South Africa against Australia in the Kirkland International in 2009, scoring five goals in the game and receiving a player-of-the match award.

He had won the same award in Ghana; he also played in Nigeria, Argentina, England and Spain.

Police spokesperson Lolly Moodley confirmed the death and said the police were expecting to make an arrest soon.

Sibusiso will be laid to rest at his Impendle homestead on May 12.

The visa

SIBUSISO Duma was waiting for a tier two visa to Britain when he was killed.

According to the workpermit.

com immigration advice site, tier two for sportspeople is intended for elite sportspeople and coaches whose employment will make a significant contribution to the development of their sport.

Applicants must be based Britain and must be internationally established at the highest level of their particular sport.

The player or coach needs to register with the UK Border Agency and obtain a sponsorship licence and an endorsement from the sport’s governing body. The prospective employer must issue a job offer and a certificate of sponsorship to the applicant. An applicant must also pass the tier two for sports- people’s points test.

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