JOHANNESBURG - The mother of a young boy who was amongst 43 fans who died in the Ellis Park tragedy 15 years ago, says visiting the stadium each year doesn't make the pain any easier to bear.
|The families of Rosswin Nation and Mduduzi Thomo laid wreaths of remembrance at the Ellis Park Stadium, 15 years since they lost their loved ones in SA's biggest stadium disaster. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.|
Eleven-year-old Rosswin Nation died on this day in 2001 when a stampede, involving more than 80,000 spectators, broke out during a Soweto derby match. More than 150 people were injured. Annette Nation says her family has had to deal with their loss with very little support from football administrators.
Rosswin was attending the match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates with his father, who survived the stampede. Laying down a wreath today at an empty stadium, Annette Nation says visiting the site each year keeps the memory of her son alive. Annette has criticised the Premier Soccer League and South African Football Association for what she believes to be a reluctance to properly commemorate the day.
WATCH: 15 years and still no annual commemorative event for Ellis Park victims
‘HELL BROKE LOOSE’
Former Chiefs and Pirates player Marks Maponyane says access to the stadium was difficult that day, even for the media. “The stadium was packed and then it became a fateful night because I remember how I even struggled to get in, you can imagine that we get in with accreditation but every gate was blocked. And it was just all people squeezing and forcing to get in.”
The footballer says he witnessed a gruesome sight on the night. “Hell broke loose, I remember I was seated right on top in the media compound and suddenly I saw bodies being brought behind the poles, then it was reality dawning and it wasn’t a good sight at all.” Maponyane says he realised the situation was bad when bodies were carried onto the field.
WATCH: 12 April 2001 deadly soccer stampede
Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung says the Ellis Park disaster is difficult to talk about, even after 15 years. Motaung says they still don't understand how things turned out the way they did.
“It was just a feeling that one cannot describe – how the whole thing unfolded and how we found ourselves in the situation in which we were.”