Killed by his passion

2017-08-06 06:01
Prince Chauke who was killed in the stampede at last weekend’s Carling Black Label Cup match

Prince Chauke who was killed in the stampede at last weekend’s Carling Black Label Cup match

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ICYMI: Two people killed in FNB stadium stampede

2017-07-31 12:09

Soweto rivals, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, were facing one another in the Carling Black Label Champions Cup when a stampede broke out. Watch. WATCH

‘I have so many great memories with my friend I can’t even choose one. But what hurts me is that what he loved the most is what got him killed,” said Spencer Msipa, a friend of Prince Chauke, who was one of two people killed in a stampede at FNB Stadium last weekend.

Msipa said Chauke (30), with whom he had travelled to Johannesburg from Sabie in Mpumalanga to watch the Carling Black Label Cup match between Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, was a passionate Chiefs fan who never missed a derby match. The two had travelled together to Chiefs games around the country in taxis owned by Chauke’s family since they were teenagers.

“We never missed any Chiefs games when they played in Mbombela Stadium or Polokwane, and we always went to the derby,” said Msipa.

Chauke, who worked in his family’s business as a taxi driver, would drive his friends to matches.

“When we went to games he would buy tickets for us early to make sure we didn’t miss them,” Msipa said. “We bought the derby tickets early at the Computicket in i’langa Mall, Nelspruit, on May 8. We didn’t want to risk missing the game because the tickets would be sold out.”

Stadium Management SA, which runs FNB Stadium, said this week that the stampede was as a result of the sale of fake tickets. The company’s chief executive, Jacques Grobbelaar, said a crowd tried to push through the gates and triggered the stampede. The two victims died of blunt force trauma, and 19 people were injured. The second victim has not been publicly identified.

Msipa said: “Our tickets weren’t fake. We bought a total of 14 tickets on the same day under the name of Sbusiso Shabangu.”

Last Saturday, the group of fans left Sabie in two taxis and travelled nearly 400km to the stadium where they arrived 30 minutes before kickoff.

“We arrived at 14:57 and passed the first gate at around 15:08. At 15:10 when we got to the second set of gates, security had closed them.

“People were complaining: ‘Why are you closing them but we bought tickets?’”

Masipa said there was confusion and noise as a large crowd demanded that the gates be opened.

“That is when the chaos started. We got separated when hundreds of people started pushing the gates and eventually overpowered the security guards,” he said.

Msipa and three other friends ran back in the direction of their taxi as the police came running to close the gates. Out of the five gates, only one remained open.

Stadium Management SA did not respond to calls from City Press on Friday.

"Heartbreaking news"

As they made their way back into the stadium, Msipa said he and his friends saw a man lying on the floor covered with a blanket. “When we were inside the stadium I called to check where he was so we could watch the game together, but his phone rang unanswered,” Msipa said.

He then kept calling Chauke throughout the match, and when a police officer finally answered the phone, Msipa thought he had the wrong number and hung up. When the match ended, he called again and the police officer who answered told him Chauke couldn’t drive them home any more, but wouldn’t say why.

“Then his father called and told us the heartbreaking news that he was no more,” Msipa said. “We are going to miss him because he was our close friend and we understood each other. And he was our driver.”

Msipa said Chauke’s friends and family still couldn’t deal with his death. He said the incident had left him fearful of attending big games and couldn’t say whether he would ever do so. He would, however, attend matches at Mbombela Stadium because it was closer to home.

Chauke leaves behind his girlfriend and a five-year-old son.

His sister Veronica said she would miss him for the loving person he was.

“When Chiefs lost he wouldn’t talk, but when they won he would call and tell us about it,” she said.

His love for Amakhosi was so deep that when his team played, he would wear his Glamour Boys jersey, sit glued to the TV and ask not to be disturbed.

He would say: “Waswi tiva sesi hina hiti rhandzela bolo [Sister, you know I love soccer],” she recalled.

Chauke lived in Sabie but hailed from Ka-Bungeni, near Makhado, Limpopo, where he grew up and where he was buried yesterday.

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