A 16 year-old soccer player, Andani Kutama, from Benny Sports Academy in Limpopo, collapsed 13 minutes into play during a match against Freedom Park (North West) in the Metropolitan SASFA U-16 Cup national finals at King Zwelithini Stadium.
The medical emergency personnel on the field immediately removed the player on a stretcher and he was taken to Prince Mshiyeni Hospital by ambulance where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.
The ball was out of play at the time and there was no prior contact with the player, according to the match commissioner.
“We are deeply saddened by his death and send our condolences to the family,” said South African Football Association (SAFA) President Kirsten Nematandani. “News of this nature is heartbreaking and our thoughts are with the family and fellow team members.”
Tendani Rasikhinya, coach of Benny Sports Academy, said that Andani Kutama was a good player, who was well-respected by his peers. “He was always positive and told lots of jokes. This is a huge shock and totally unexpected. We mourn his death.”
A decision regarding whether the team will continue to participate in the competition is pending and will be made in conjunction with the team players and team management.