Singing hymns and blowing vuvuzelas, South African sporting fans
on Thursday paid final respects to three sporting figures who died
within three days of each other.
sport ministry organized a combined memorial service for fans of
national soccer captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, Olympic
silver medalist Mbulaeni Mulaudzi and welterweight boxer Phindile
supporters wearing club and national jerseys, South Africa's
sporting figures and officials gathered at an indoor sports arena
in downtown Johannesburg. The crowd became silent as the families
of the deceased entered the hall.
"It is under
sad circumstances, but it gives us another opportunity to stand
together as a country," Jean de Villiers, South Africa's
rugby captain, said in an interview with state broadcaster SABC.
De Villiers wore his green and gold Springboks suit jacket.
Meyiwa was killed
in an apparent robbery on Sunday while Mulaudzi, an 800-meter
world champion, died in a car crash on Friday. Female boxer
Mwelase died Saturday after two weeks in a coma following a bout.
national soccer coach Ephraim Mashaba has delayed naming the squad
set to play in two qualifying games in the African Cup of Nations.
Mashaba, who was due to announce the team on Thursday, said Meyiwa
would have been the first name on his list.
Meyiwa was also
the goalkeeper of Orlando Pirates, one of South Africa's most
popular club soccer teams. At the memorial, some fans wore jerseys
of the Kaizer Chiefs club, the rival of Orlando Pirates.
sporting figures will be buried in their hometowns over the