20 years since Ellis Park disaster, football fraternity relives the tragic day

In 2001 on this day 43 supporters were killed in a stampede at the Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg.

FILE: The families of Rosswin Nation and Mduduzi Thomo laid wreaths of remembrance at the Ellis Park Stadium, 15 years since they lost their loved ones in SA's biggest stadium disaster. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Sunday 11 April 2021 marks 20 years since the Ellis Park disaster which left an unforgettable mark on local football.

Administrators, players and coaches are reliving the memories of the day.

In 2001 on this day 43 supporters were killed in a stampede at the Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg.

According to reports at the time, the stadium was packed to capacity, however, a further 30,000 people tried to force their way in.

Dubbed as the country’s worst sporting tragedy, the Ellis Park disaster took place during a soccer match between Soweto giants Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs.

Mursin Ertugal was Chiefs’ coach at the time, and he explained the most heart-breaking memory of the day.

“This little boy was explaining to me that he lost his father and brother. This was really heartbreaking.”

Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung said what happened on that night cannot be forgotten.

“For those of us who were there, this was a very dark day for South African football. We have learned quite a lot of lessons from this unfortunate occurrence.”

The tragedy had major implications for crowd control and safety at stadia, with the Ngoepe commission recommending ways to ensure crowd safety.

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