Anele Ngcongca’s death in a car accident on Monday has drawn fresh calls to address what is a long-running scourge of South African footballers losing lives on the road.
As reported here on Futaa on Monday, the former Mamelodi Sundowns, Genk and Bafana Bafana international met his death in KwaZulu Natal where his vehicle lost control, leaving a female companion in critical condition.
Unfortunately, the 33-year-old defender’s tragic end is an unsavory familiar event in the South African football game, a league that is recognized as the most economically prosperous and competitive in Africa.
Additionally, the unfortunate events, which many have occurred in the early hours of the morning, are widely claimed to be influenced by drinking and driving in a common nightlife among the players in the country.
In effort to consider and realize why the public is searching for answers, we look back at the eight players that have lost their lives in the new millennium since 2003, excluding the numerous other accidents where players escaped alive.
Lesley Manyathela - 10 August 2003, aged 22
The former Orlando Pirates striker lost control of his BMW on Saturday night while traveling to Musina to visit his mom.
Mpho Gift Leremi - 3 September 2007, aged 23
The ex-Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns attacker lost control of his BMW in Brackendowns, next to Alberton - after representing the national team in the CAF Confederation Cup game against Cameroon.
Richard Henyekane - 7 April 2015, aged 31
The Free State Stars striker lost his life on the road between Harrismith and Bethlehem, after his car collided with a truck before a fatal fire.
Mondli Cele - 17 January 2016, aged 26
Maritzburg United striker Mondli Cele and a woman died on a Sunday morning, when the Nissan Almera lost control on College Road in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal.
Mondli Dlamini - 9 October 2017, aged 20.
The Maritzburg United attacking midfielder died on the N3 in KwaZulu-Natal, when his driver and former teammate Happy Mashau lost control of the automobile on a Sunday afternoon.
Cecil Lolo - 25 October 2015, aged 27
The Ajax Cape Town defender lost his life, when his VW Golf crashed with a bakkie in Spine Road, Khayelitsha on a Sunday morning, while travelling from his family home to his flat in Goodwood.
Sinethemba Jantjie - 1 April 2019, aged 30
The Free State Stars winger, who had signed a pre-contract with Bidvest Wits, died in Bethlehem on a Monday morning in his VW Polo GTI. Further details have never been made available.
Anele Ngcongca - 23 November 2020, aged 33
Ngcongca died at 05:00 on Monday while travelling with an identified female in his BMW in Mtunzini, KwaZulu Natal, days before he was due to be unveiled by his new Durban club AmaZulu on loan from Mamelodi Sundowns.
While the South African football community will eternally respect and honour the loss of these young lives, clubs are left facing a big responsibility to run education programmes to ensure footballers lead healthy and responsible social lives.