The Free State and the South African football fraternity are mourning the death of a top Premier Soccer League (PSL) assistant referee, Moeketsi Molelekoa (31) from Botshabelo.
He died in a horrific accident involving a bus in his home town on Friday morning (20/01).
Details surrounding the fatal crash are still uncertain. It is unclear what had led to the accident, and if the conditions of the road might have contributed.
According to the police, Molelekoa and a female passenger identified as Palesa Emily Pole (25) died instantly in the crash, which is believed to have occurred at about 06:00 on the main road in section B. The bus involved reportedly belongs to Interstate Bus Lines.
Lt. Col Thabo Covane, spokesperson for the police in the Mangaung Metro, said Molelekoa’s vehicle collided head-on with the bus.
He said the bus driver escaped unharmed, while both Molelekoa and Pole were declared dead at the scene by paramedics.
The incident has sent shock waves through the football fraternity, as can be expected, but it has also sparked public outrage. The outrage pertains to the deteriorating conditions of the roads in the province.
Molelekoa graduated from grassroots leagues to serve in the top-flight PSL, National First Division (NFD), ABC Motsepe League and SAB Regional League under the auspices of the South African Football Association (Safa).
Safa has described the news of Molelekoa’s death as saddening, and it mourns the sudden death of a highly rated and humble assistant referee.
Molelekoa, affectionately known as Max throughout the football fraternity, rose steadily to officiate in the big-league matches of the PSL and continental competitions.
His first international match was the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying fixture between Zambia and Algeria in March 2021.
- Molelekoa’s death comes barely nine months after that of the top women’s match commissioner, Matankiso Titi-Miya (48) from Bethlehem.
She was one of five people who were killed in a car accident on the R57 road between Heilbron and Sasolburg on 22 April last year.
Titi-Miya died en route to Johannesburg. She had been assigned to officiate a DStv match between Sekhukhune United and Mamelodi Sundowns at the Makhulong Stadium on the following Saturday.
Details of Molelekoa’s funeral service and other related activities will be announced in due course.