SportPesa Clubhouse column ambassador, Doctor Khumalo talks about the life of another fallen football hero in Mark Batchelor. In this segment, Doc shares his last conversation with Batch and the emotions tied to that.
"Funny enough, not long ago, I was talking to him on the phone not knowing that would be the last time I would hear his voice. What happened was that I was having breakfast at a restaurant when one of his friends came to me with his cell phone and said, “Hey, Doc, there’s a stranger who wants to talk to you,” as he gave me his cell phone. I was surprised to find out Batch was on the other side of the phone. Strange enough, he was talking about how long it had been without seeing each other and we arranged to meet up in a few weeks’ time when we are both free. Little did I know that was the last time I would hear from him and that saddens me because there were things he wanted us to discuss, including football.
"It was not going to be just another meeting between friends, we had important things that we had planned to discuss. I’m sad that discussion is not going to happen because he’s no more! Like I said, that was the last time I spoke to him and I can’t say he was saying goodbye because even he didn’t expect what happened. It was a sudden, tragic passing that he didn’t deserve at all. What else can one say? This is our journey because we are all going to depart this world and no one knows their mode of transport. I must say, it is a great loss to the family, friends and football fraternity because Marc is one person that has never bothered anyone after retiring. He was always doing his own things himself and it is really sad to lose him the way we did.
"I had an opportunity to liaise with his family, especially his younger brother, in preparation for his sending-off. I know they’ve been talking to other legends as well and it is good that the legends are helping one another out. Let’s continue to help each other, especially in tough times like this, guys. We need to embrace each other and enjoy each other’s company while we still can. May Marc’s soul rest in peace. I hope the perpetrators will be brought to book because they have no right to decide Batch’s time on earth. They never brought him to this earth for them to decide when it was time for him to depart. Only God has that right and no one else! I really hope the police will get to the bottom of this because Marc is someone who has done so much for South African football. What happened to Marc really opened old wounds. You ask yourself, “If this happened to Marc, who is next?”