Kaizer Chiefs legend Thabo ‘Tsiki Tsiki’ Mooki reflected on the Ellis Park Stadium tragedy where 43 supporters perished during a match between Amakhosi and Orlando Pirates.

The Ellis Park disaster happened 23 years ago on 11 April 2001. The Soweto Derby between the two teams was played mid-week in the evening and ultimately led to 43 people losing their lives.

Mooki, who played that match, reflected on what happened on that fateful night.

“The day began like every match day. We were filled with excitement and so were the fans. It was an important match,” he said.

“When the game started, we did not know what was going on. When the game stopped, we were told that there was a stampede. Only later did we get to know what had actually unfolded.”

The former Kaizer Chiefs midfielder said dealing with the aftermath of the Ellis Park disaster was stressful.

“We had a captains committee of senior players and we were able to get the help we needed to ensure that the players were able to continue – emotionally and psychologically – and play in the memory of the fans. As a player at that stage in my career, I had never had the experience of people passing at a game and it was traumatic for us,” he explains.

Kaizer Chiefs legend Mooki remembers Ellis Park victims

“I say, may the souls of all those who passed that evening rest in peace. Amongst them were breadwinners for their families, important community leaders, children, fathers and mothers. For those families who lost these members, to this day I sympathise with them and feel for what they went through.”

Amakhosi legend opens about 11 April 2001 when 43 people died

Mooki also marks every anniversary by taking time out to reflect on what happened on that fateful evening in April, 2001.

“Like I said, these people who passed all meant something to their families, and to us. It is fitting that we think about them and what happened to them, and ensure that fans enjoy the spectacle that is football safely,” he says.

The game was abandoned on the night and was replayed almost two months later, with Mooki scoring in a 1-0 win.

The Kaizer Chiefs legend dedicated his match winning goal and performance to the memory of the fans who perished at Ellis Park that night.



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