‘Cele carried United on his shoulders and his spirit will be with us’

2016-01-22 11:30
Maritzburg United players arrive at the memorial service for Mondli Cele at the Life Bible Church International. Cele was killed when his car crashed into the Dusi River on Sunday morning.

Maritzburg United players arrive at the memorial service for Mondli Cele at the Life Bible Church International. Cele was killed when his car crashed into the Dusi River on Sunday morning. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pietermaritzburg - Mondli Cele, who died in a car accident earlier this week, will be Maritzburg United’s 12th man for the rest of the season. These were the words of experienced defender John Paintsil, who was speaking on behalf of the team at Cele’s memorial service.

These were the words of experienced defender John Paintsil, who was speaking on behalf of the team at Cele’s memorial service held at Life Bible Church yesterday evening.

In an emotional speech, Paintsil paid tribute to his team-mate, describing him as a hard worker who carried the team on his shoulders when the chips were down. This was indeed the case, as Cele opened the scoring in their last two games against Gauteng giants SuperSport United and Orlando Pirates.

“At the beginning of the year, he carried the team on his shoulders and played as a leader. He was somebody you would never hear argue with anyone in training. You could kick 10 times, a million times, he would get up and continue. He would never complain.

“The way he trained was the way he played … We have lost somebody that is very, very important to us. And, we believe and we trust that from now, where we will be and any game that we play, we know we are going to be 12 men on the field because his spirit will be there with us,” the former West Ham United defender said.

Among those in attendance yesterday was former coach Steve Komphela, who gave Cele his big break in the big league when he plucked him from relative obscurity and shoved him into the limelight that eventually saw him earn a call-up to the national team.

Now the head coach of Kaizer Chiefs, and representing his employers, Komphela attempted once more to inspire his former players just as he had when the club achieved its highest ever league finish of eighth place last season.

He called on the United squad to use the tragedy as a unifying factor, and dedicate every game they play from now until the end of the season to their departed team-mate. “I watched the game against Pirates. There was intensity, and each time you broke, he was there. And, I’m sure in the next team sheet, you would not have thought twice,” Komphela said to Ernst Middendorp, tasked with lifting the club out of the relegation zone.

Addressing the players, Komphela said: “… Let this be the injection, let this be your inspiration,” he added.

Representing the league, PSL chief operations officer Professor Ronnie Schloss reminded the gathering that it was not so long ago that he was attending a service for Ajax Cape Town’s Cecil Lolo who also died in a car accident in October. Cele’s funeral will take place at the Folweni Sports ground near Isipingo at 9 am tomorrow.

Read more on:    mondli cele  |  pietermaritzburg  |  maritzburg united

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.