Fans relive horror of April 11

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KickOff.com has received many calls this morning from fans reliving the stampede at Ellis Park which claimed 43 lives during a Soweto Derby between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

One soccer fan, Bheki Nkomo, a staunch Pirates supporter, says his mind traced back to that fateful night the moment he woke up this morning.

“It is one day I will never forget in my life,” he says. “I felt sad again when I woke up this morning and remembered that day. I woke that day with excitement of going to the stadium but left with my heart broken.

He tells a harrowing tale of his own experience on the night.

“I had made sure that I had bought a ticket a day before, but when I got to the stadium we were told by security that tickets were sold out and the stadium was full. They pushed us away, but I was angry because I had a ticket in my hand that I had bought.

“We went to the gate facing the Johannesburg Stadium and were told the same story. The security refused to allow us into the stadium.

“We pushed on the gate and it fell. By that time Chiefs had already scored a goal. People that were standing in the front fell under the gate and it was terrible to see the fans streaming into the stadium, running on top of the fallen people, crushing them under the gate.

“I decided to use another route and found a wall to climb into the stadium. Within three minutes of being in the stadium, Tso Vilakazi scored the equalising goal. But I just saw bodies being transferred onto the pitch.

It was horrible to stand on the touchline and see the bodies passed from one hand to another. Most of the people were already dead."

Kaizer Chiefs’ self-styled number 1 supporter, Sadaam Maake, says fans must continue to remember and respect April 11 every year, even as the years roll by.

“Yesterday we remembered Chris Hani, today we remember those people who died in Ellis Park Disaster,” he tells KickOff.com. “They are our heroes. I remember that day as if it was yesterday and had to bury four members from my supporters branch.

“We went to stadium to collect three points, but by the end of the day 43 bodies were left lying on the pitch. To the families of those supporters who died at Ellis Park, we say we still think of them and mourn their passing.”

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