Orlando Pirates football club have issued a statement which sets the record straight regarding the events which transpired during the funeral service of the team’s late goalkeeper and captain, Senzo Meyiwa.
It was reported earlier today in the Sowetan newspaper that Pirates Chairman, Dr Irvin Khoza threw a tantrum during Meyiwa’s funeral service at the Chesterville cemetery and was angered by the Kaizer Chiefs players who failed to observe protocol.
According to the report, the Chiefs players led by their injured skipper, Itumeleng Khune proceeded to pay their final respects to Meyiwa however did so ahead of Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula, KZN Premier, Senzo Mchunu and other high-ranking dignitaries and guests.
This is when Dr Khoza intervened and ‘angrily’ pointed out the error to the pastors who were officiating over the service.
However, Pirates have officially declared that the report in the publication purports the events which took place and have provided their version of events.
In their statement Pirates insist the following:
“At the beginning of the graveyard part of the funeral, the presiding priest acting as the Programme Director approached Dr Khoza to verify the protocol that Dr Khoza confirmed as – family first, followed by Minister and Premier, Deputy Minister and Mayor; football leadership – Dr Jordaan, Dr Khoza and Mr Motsepe, followed by the players. The priests unfortunately omitted to announce the protocol as agreed. Unaware of the protocol some official signalled to the Kaizer Chiefs players to come forward from the tent where they were seated to come and pay their last respect through pouring of soil into the grave.
“When Dr Khoza noticed this occurrence he consulted and concurred with the Minister and Premier that it needed to be corrected. He quietly went to the priest to remind him to announce the protocol agreed. At no stage did Dr Khoza “lose it” or “throw a tantrum” as the article states.”
Dr Khoza has commented on the article highlighting the discrepancies of the article.
“It is mischievous to suggest I was angry and especially angered by the Kaizer Chiefs captain and players. I am particularly pleased by the role played by Kaizer Chiefs in the dignified burial of Senzo Meyiwa. I view Kaizer Chiefs players, all players for that matter, as children that I must play my role in nurturing (nge sintu children cannot pour soil into the grave before the elders). The rivalry the Sowetan article refers to must exist in the journalist’s mischievous head,” said the Bucs Chairman.