Sport

Free State Mourns Stars Midfielder

Free State Stars midfielder Sinethemba Jantjie has become the latest in a worrying list of PSL players who in recent years have ended up as tragic car crash casualties.

Free State Stars confirmed in a statement that Jantjie, 30, was involved in a fatal crash in Bethlehem at 06:00 on Monday morning.

He will be buried in his home village of Whittlesea in the Eastern Cape tomorrow (Sat).

Following the announcement which has sent shocking waves in the football fraternity, the PSL announced on its website that it will observe a moment of silence in honour of the late Stars player.

This will also apply at all Absa Premiership, National First Division and MultiChoice Diski Shield fixtures from today (Fri) until Sunday.

Free State Stars’ weekend Absa Premiership clash against Highlands Park has also been called off to allow for the burial of the late star winger.

The Premier Soccer League (PSL) have postponed the game‚ which was scheduled for Saturday‚ to a date to be determined.

The 30-year-old perished when his vehicle was involved in a collision‚ with pictures of his mangled car circulating on social media.

The late winger joins a sadly growing list of road fatalities among professional football players‚ with Lesley Manyathela‚ Gift Leremi‚ Richard Henyekane‚ Cecil Lolo‚ Mondli Cele and Mlondi Dlamini having died in car accidents over the last two decades.

Jantjie was on the brink of a major breakthrough after signing a pre-contract with Bidvest Wits‚ who he was due to join at the end of the season.

He joined Stars three years ago from Mbombela United. The late bloomer rose to prominence in the 2015-16 season when he helped take the come National First Division club close to promotion to the Premier League.

He then moved to Free State Stars in the following campaign and‚ after initially battling to make an impact‚ later became a regular with Ea Lla Koto.

Jantjie featured in 20 of Stars’ 24 league games this season‚ scoring four goals.

Speaking following the player’s death, Free State MEC for sport, arts, culture and recreation Mathabo Leeto said, “Today is a sad day for the football community in the Free State Province. We are all shocked to learn about the untimely departure of one of our finest midfielders who has contributed immensely towards the development of football in the province.”

She noted, “As a department, we dip our banner and mourn in solidarity with the Free State Stars for the loss that they have suffered. May his soul rest in peace!”

By: Thapelo Molebatsi