Tributes continued to pour in on Wednesday for the late former Banyana Banyana star Makhosini Luthuli who succumbed to cancer on Monday. She was 46.
“We have lost a legend, one of the pioneers of women’s football following our readmission into the Fifa family,’’ said Safa president Danny Jordaan.
Luthuli was part of a group of players who played an integral part during Banyana’s formative years that saw South Africa appearing taking part in their first Afcon final in 2000.
Among her old team-mates were current Banyana head coach Desiree Ellis, who also paid homage to Luthuli.
“She was always smiling, a hard worker and very dedicated to serving the team. We have lost an honest and principled individual. May her soul rest in peace,’’ said Ellis.
Ironically, Luthuli’s passing came a few hours after Ellis steered Banyana to a record fourth Cosafa Women’s Championship triumph on Saturday.
Former Banyana captain Amanda Dlamini tweeted: “You were always so positive and never showed any fear. Your story of bravery & courage on and off the field will live in our hearts forever.”
Another erstwhile Banyana skipper Simphiwe Dludlu, also paid tribute to Luthuli. “Pioneers of women’s football, our role model, she and other heroines paved the way for us ... May your soul rest easy, you fought the good fight and still gave back to football till the very end. Ndlela’nhle Makhosi Luthuli.”
Luthuli, who hails from Marianhill in KwaZulu-Natal, retired in 2006 after a Banyana career spanning eight years. She featured in three Afcon tournaments with the likes the iconic Portia Modise.
Luthuli was diagnosed with lymphoma‚ a cancer of the lymphatic system‚ in 2011. She developed tumour that deformed her face, until she underwent surgery to remove it two years ago.
Details of her funeral arrangements are yet to be confirmed.