Soccer Laduma readers, please note that this is the last edition of your favourite football publication for 2020, and what a year it has been! A lot has happened and the damage caused by this year and the Coronavirus pandemic is well-documented, but we can only hope that 2021 will be a better year.
Having said that, we can’t just expect a different year simply because the clock strikes 00:00 on December 31st, we will have to make the difference we want to see. Therefore, we also have a role to play in ensuring that next year becomes a better year. Our first edition of 2021 will hit the shelves on January 6 and all of us at Soccer Laduma hope we will all be back in good health and continue from where we are about to leave off. It is very important that we do all we can to make sure that we come back safe and sound in 2021. On behalf of Soccer Laduma, thanks so much for your unwavering support even in trying times. We’ve always known that we could count on you, but you proved it beyond any reasonable doubt that you are truly behind us when circumstances beyond our control forced us to increase our cover price, the biggest increase I’ve ever witnessed since joining this publication. We were worried about that decision, but your response and assuring letters gave us a huge sigh of relief. Thank you, once again, for being there for us and we promise to continue striving to make you happy, entertained and informed with great content.
On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa called a ‘family meeting’ and announced new lockdown restrictions in order to try and prevent a further spread of this second wave. Guys, we all have to play our part in ensuring that we stage a huge fight against this pandemic so that we all make it past 2020 and eventually defeat this deadly virus. We have lost so many people already and the last thing we need is to add to the growing list of those who have become statistics and victims to this pandemic. We can’t over-emphasize the importance of sticking to the regulations at all times so that we can save lives. If you don’t care about your own health and life, please think about those near you. We can’t afford to go through further loss of life. Let’s please play our part and fight this virus with everything we have. It is going to take a strong effort from each and every one of us to get back to normal and the sooner we do that, the better. This virus is not going anywhere for as long as we fail to toe the line and practise safety regulations as prescribed. Let us stay safe, sanitize, keep a social distance and wash our hands regularly while wearing a mask all the time we are in the company of others.
On a sad note, the news of Motjeka Madisha’s tragic passing came as an absolute shocker, especially considering the fact that we were still processing the loss of another Mamelodi Sundowns defender, Anele Ngcongca, who also lost his life tragically from a car accident! What a young talent Madisha was, with such a bright future! It is becoming increasingly disappointing that we continue to share condolences messages when we should rather be celebrating our footballers on these platforms. This is unfortunate! Madisha had the world at his feet and one can only imagine what his teammates are going through. Losing Anele was a terrible blow and for Madisha to follow so soon, after paying a tribute to Anele in his last Instagram post, not even knowing he would be the next one to follow his more senior teammate, is rather sad and tragic. This is a huge blow for all of us and I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family, especially his mother, whom he always made sure to mention and thank for the support whenever he got a chance, friends, his teammates and everyone associated with Sundowns. I can only imagine what you guys are going through in these trying and unprecedented times!
It is so unfortunate that the League turned down Sundowns’ request to have their games postponed so that they can deal with the tragic news before resuming with their league program. The league has made a pronouncement that Sundowns would have to play their game against TS Galaxy on Tuesday night and by the time you read this column, you’d have seen how Sundowns would have handled the game. One thing I know for sure, in an ideal world, no games should have taken place, but the league would have done all they could to support Sundowns as this is not just about the club but the wellbeing of the players because they are surely in no state to continue with life as if nothing has happened. We are talking about their brothers and friends who left them under tragic circumstances and this is not something that they can forget about in a week. Sundowns players are not ready for life without Anele and Madisha! If anything, they deserve a break from competitive football so that they can get professional help to deal with their loss rather than being expected to sweat it all out on the field of play. There’s more to life than playing football and the wellbeing of any individual is of paramount importance and it should always come before anything else.
Good luck to everyone at Sundowns in this trying time and I hope God will give you strength to deal with your loss. Words of encouragement may not always be enough, but I hope the love people continue to show you will not go unnoticed and that it will give you strength to soldier on. Losing someone close to you is hard enough, but when it is two back-to-back tragic incidents, that’s a whole different story altogether.
Let’s stay safe, enjoy the festive season and see you in January. Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!