Soccer player’s family still in shock

2009-03-23 00:00

SLAIN soccer player Khumbulani Luthuli’s family and friends are still trying to come to terms with the murder of the rising soccer star.

Luthuli’s girlfriend, who was with him when he was attacked, was “too devastated” to talk to The Witness yesterday.

His mother, Thandi Bombo (52), came to Pietermaritzburg from KwaNdengezi township near Pinetown to identify her son’s body at a government mortuary.

She last saw her son when he visited her in KwaNdengezi. “I saw him last week when he was visiting me and now I had to identify his body. It was the hardest thing to do. I can’t describe the pain I felt.”

Bombo said her son was close to achieving his dreams. “All those dreams have been dashed. As his mother I could see and was hopeful that he would still achieve his dreams, and start working.”

The devastating news of Luthuli’s death reached Bombo at 2 am on Saturday, when one of the coaches came to her house.

Luthuli and his girlfriend were attacked and robbed just after midnight on Saturday on Deanery Lane.

Luthuli was stabbed in the chest and died in front of his girlfriend after they gave their attackers what they demanded.

Maritzburg City Football Club (MCFC) coach Reggie Shelembe said the team lost a leader in Luthuli.

“The mood is very low in the camp, the players are traumatised. It will be difficult to play this week’s games, but we will play the next two games in his honour.”

MCFC play African Wanderers tomorrow and on Sunday.

Shelembe described Luthuli as a rising star.

“He was a good competitor, a good passer of the ball, tough, hardworking and disciplined on and off the field.

“Actually, he was an all-rounder, very responsible, and could stand his ground and was not afraid to challenge my decision as a coach until he was satisfied”.

Three women and three men were involved in the attack.

Thamsanqa Msimang (23), Sthembiso Gwala (22) and Slindile Ntombikhona Hadebe (18) appeared in court yesterday, but were not asked to plead.

The state is opposed to bail, and they were remanded in custody until April 1.

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