We’ve lost a son

2012-10-20 21:00

When I got a call that Tommy (Thomas Madigage) had passed away, I initially thought it was a cruel April Fool’s joke.

It was only after the fourth call and after I checked the date that the message started to sink in.

I realised it was October.

Then I knew it was true.

Tommy grew up in my house and as we speak, my wife, Gail, is devastated.

He is the only player ever to stay at my house and this was because of something different that I saw in him.

From the onset, I said to my wife “this boy is going to be something big” and I was vindicated as he went on to play overseas, came back and eventually became a coach.

Tommy had leadership qualities from a young age. He was no ordinary player.

In fact, to me he was a son, friend, adviser, and his knowledge of football was unmatched.

He would observe things that many others didn’t.

I am actually very proud of what he achieved and think that we should not mourn his death, but praise his achievements.

His death was so untimely because he was working on his biggest project ever, preparing the national team for next year’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

His dream was to emulate the Class of 1996 by winning the trophy at home.

He recently told me that he would regard it as failure on his part if the team did not win the Afcon cup.

There is a lesson to be learnt from the long time he served as an assistant to Pitso Mosimane and Gavin Hunt before joining Bafana Bafana.

Tommy actually made Pitso and Gavin, but because he was a very humble human being, he did not want to take the glory away.

The work he did behind the scenes is unbelievable. His knowledge of soccer and dedication saw him score very high marks in every coaching course he attended.

I was sure he would one day become the national team coach, but sadly he is no more.

We, the Sonos, have lost a son and the entire nation has lost one of the greatest soccer brains.

May his soul rest in peace.

»SA Football Association announced that Madigage will be buried in his home village of Driekop, 120km east of Polokwane, in Limpopo on October 28. A memorial service will be held in Johannesburg on Friday.

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