Khabo Zondo has expressed grief following the death of TS Galaxy midfielder Thembinkosi Mbamba.
Mbamba, who played his last match for the Mpumalanga side against Kaizer Chiefs in the Nedbank Cup final in Durban over a week ago, died in a car accident in the early hours of Saturday morning. He was 23.
“Thembinkosi Mbamba… we looked at him as a player who had a bright future. Sadly, what has happened has happened. And it’s a great loss for his family; great loss for his country,” said Zondo, about the player whom he coached at African All Stars.
“He was a young promising player. I mean, he got a gold medal a week ago after winning the Nedbank Cup [against Kaizer Chiefs]. The next thing that happens is he is no more. We feel very much deep pain. May his soul rest in peace,” he said.
“We’ll always remember him for the great football he possessed. He was a quiet and humble player with a bright future. But, at the end of the day, there’s only one person that knows what happens in our lives - the Almighty.
“I can say we’ve lost a great player as a country. Who knows? Maybe he would have ended up in the Bafana Bafana, or maybe playing his football overseas. As you may know each and every player in the country or any player that plays football has got high hopes of doing well in football and let his family live a better life out of this,” he added.
Mbamba, who had played for his club in 12 matches in all competitions last season, joins the growing list of South African footballers who lost their lives in car accidents.
The list includes – among others - the likes of Sinethemba Jantjie, Mondli Cele, Richard Henyekane, Gift Leremi and Lesley Manyathela.
Zondo suggested football players should go for an advanced driving course.
“It would be difficult for me to conclude or to suggest that maybe the player has been careless in terms of driving. I can’t say the player was at fault when the accident happened. I don’t have a full picture of what may have happened before the accident,” said Zondo.
“Remember when you are driving your own car you are also driving the other drivers’ cars on the road,” he noted.
“On a serious note, it is important that these young players understand what happens when you are behind the wheels. Respect the road, respect the car that you are driving, respect everyone [on the road].
“This should happen to everyone - not only the players. At times you might die in a car accident being not your fault. It is unfortunate that we have lost yet another football player through a car accident situation,” Zondo said.
“I know our players like fast cars. I so much wish they could go for advanced driving course because there are so many things that they can learn.” concluded Zondo.