‘I have lived with those sad memories‚’ says Brian Baloyi‚ remembering Ellis Park

11 April 2019 - 12:07 By Mahlatse Mphahlele
File photo of former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Brian Baloyi in action against their cross town rivals Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium.
File photo of former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Brian Baloyi in action against their cross town rivals Orlando Pirates at FNB Stadium.
Image: Gallo Images

Former Kaizer Chiefs goalkeeper Brian Baloyi has joined South Africans remembering the tragic events of the Ellis Park disaster in the Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs were 43 people lost their lives in the stampede.

Baloyi‚ who was in goal for Amakhosi on that fateful night 18 years ago‚ said he still remembers the chaos “like it happened yesterday”‚ and urged the sporting fraternity to never forget the people who lost their lives on Wednesday‚ April 11‚ 2001.

“It is a moment that will forever be etched in my memory for as long as I live and yes‚ I remember it like it happened yesterday‚” said the former Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns stopper who was better known as “Spiderman”.

“It was a sad day for football in our country and we can never sympathise enough with the families of the people who lost their loved ones.

“There were many others who were injured on the night and I am sure their lives have been somehow changed by those injures. People come to the stadiums to be entertained by the sport they love and not to see others die or get injured.”

“Personally I have had to live with those sad memories in my mind and I am sure it is the same with all the people who were in the stadium on that night of complete chaos‚ and to honour those who died and were injured‚ we must make sure that it never happens again.”

Baloyi recounted how the players panicked on the field as soon as they were made aware of what was happening around the stadium‚ because many had family members at the game.

“My wife and other members of my family were at the stadium and they were often late because of traffic. As soon as we were told what was happening‚ I rushed to the dressing room to try and call them but I could not get through because the network was poor‚” he said.

“For a while I did not know what to do but there was relief when I finally managed to get through to them and they were safe. That is something that no one should ever go through.”

Baloyi said that the authorities must continue to work improving security training for events in general in South Africa.

“Sometimes I worry when I look at security at events‚ big or small‚ and not just football‚ because I feel more can be done to educate and train our officials to deal with crowds better‚” he said.

“Some of the things that cause confusion at these events could be avoided if our security officers were better trained.”