Chiefs' win over Pirates marred by fatal stampede at FNB Stadium
Two people died during a stampede outside this venue during the Carling Black Label Champion Cup between arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
There were also multiple injuries which led to all gates being opened to control the situation as the match continued with many in the stadium unaware of what was happening outside.
The MC didn’t mention the tragic news, and if he tried he would have been inaudible in a loud atmosphere where a sold-out crowd was expected.
Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Public Safety, Councillor Michael Sun, confirmed the news on Twitter during the match, revealing that all the gates were opened after the stampede and the ambulance capacity was increased.
This wasn’t the first time fans lost their lives during a Soweto Derby. On April 11, 2001, 43 people died during a stampede at Ellis Park and on January 13, 1991, 42 lives were lost in a friendly between these Soweto giants at Oppenheimer Stadium in Orkney.
In this match, Bernard Parker and Gustavo Paez continued to make their case to Steve Komphela that the pair could solve Chiefs’ scoring woes that saw the side slump to two barren seasons.
Parker and Paez combined well, feeding off the energy of each other. Neither permanently occupied the role of the centre-forward. If Paez was in the box, Parker drifted wide to supply the Venezuelan-born striker and Paez did the same when Parker entered the box. Paez did most of the running, making clever runs to open the Buccaneers’ defence. The pair combined to score the solitary goal with Paez the supplier and Parker the finisher.
Pirates coach Kjell Jonevret was surprisingly jovial for a man who seemingly walked into the guillotine with his hands tied to his back, unable to defend himself in what could have been his last match in charge of the Buccaneers. Fans selected the starting XI while another served as the “coach”. Jonevret invited Chief Nkoko, Pirates’ champion coach, to sit on his seat.
There are rumours that Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic could be sitting on that seat in the upcoming season. Those rumours were further fuelled by Sredojevic parting ways with the Federation of Uganda Football Association (Fufa) hours before this match. Zamalek and Pirates favourites to land his signature. But the instability of the Egyptian giants under the unpredictable Mortada Mansour could sway Micho to the Buccaneers that he led to a semifinal finish in the 2006 Caf Champions League.
Regardless of who is in charge of the Buccaneers next season, their deep-rooted problems still persist and needs the management and players to own up and then fix them if they are to pick themselves out of the slump they’re on.