Soccer star dies in crash outside Greytown

2018-05-02 06:00
Bheka Phakathi died in car accident on Sunday. In this file photo he is pictured during his time as assistant coach of Royal Eagles. See another picture on page 4

Bheka Phakathi died in car accident on Sunday. In this file photo he is pictured during his time as assistant coach of Royal Eagles. See another picture on page 4

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THE tragic death of nationally known soccer star Bheka Phakathi in a car accident, outside Greytown, over the weekend was met with great shock and sadness throughout the country.

The 43-year-old Phakathi was travelling with two friends when the vehicle, left the road and overturned just past Seven Oaks garage — Phakathi, who was in the front passenger seat died and the other two occupants survived.

The accident occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning as the soccer star was on his way to coach Umvoti Football Club team.

As head coach of the team, he was working with them for the upcoming national play-offs.

Phakathi had lead the team to the top of the regional ABC Motsepe League and was working towards a place in the National First Division for the next season.

Highly respected in the football fraternity, Phakathi first came to prominence while playing for Gold Arrows as midfielder.

He then joined Orlando Pirates and also played for Maritzburg United before retiring from professional football in 2010 to take up coaching.

One of the highlights was when as assistant coach to Shaun Bartlett, the Golden Arrows won promotion back to the premiership in the 2014/15 season.

Umvoti football team manager Bongani Msomi said that they were all devastated at the tragic loss — Phakathi had lead the team on an amazing journey to top the ABC Motsepe league.

Although it would be a difficult time without his guidance Msomi said “they know what he would have expected from them”.

Phakathi leaves behind his wife and four children in Lamontville.

A statement issued on behalf of Umvoti Municipality, by Siqalokuhle Media read as follows: “It was great shock, despair and sadness that uMvoti Municipality learnt of the passing of not only a nationwide asset but of late, a local icon and role model, Bheka Phakathi.

“Phakathi, who originally hails from
Lamontville, south of Durban, was the current head coach of budding soccer team, Umvoti FC. “His talent was also witnessed nationwide as Phakathi played for three influential sides namely, Lamontville Golden Arrows, Orlando Pirates and
Maritzburg United. Phakathi lost his life in a tragic car accident while on his way to training at ABC Motsepe League club
Umvoti FC. He died while on a solid mission to return to topflight football with his team. The team under his mentorship, had just won the league title and set to contest for the play-offs for a spot in the National First Division next season.

Not only was Phakathi a brilliant midfielder, but he was also a respected soccer analyst and was at the height of his coaching career.”

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