Former Pirates defender Papi Khomane remembered

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Former Bafana Bafana coach Shakes Mashaba has described the Khomane family as very special in South African football. Mashaba was one of the former players who attended the memorial service of former Orlando Pirates and Jomo Cosmos captain Papi Khomane. 48-year-old Khomane died in a car accident in KwaZulu Natal last Saturday. Khomane was the son of another Pirates legend and former captain Johannes “Yster” Khomane.

This week, the people of South Africa are still mourning the death of Papi Khomane and his two family members. Khomane died in a horrific accident alongside his mother Rita and his brother-in-law Moffat Nkosi. The three were killed on their way to a funeral in KwaZulu-Natal early on Saturday. The Khomane family is still trying to come to terms with the devastating loss.

“We are totally shattered as a family. We are distraught about what happened but as Christians we have accepted that they are at peace with their lord and maker,” says Tato Khomane, Papi’s brother.

The family says the father is battling to accept the loss.

“He took the news quite badly. He’s not being well but he’s got all the support that is needed to ensure that he gets better whether it’s medical support. Obviously from the family as well he’s got that but it has been very, very tough for him,” Khomane added.

Khomane and his mother were very active members of the Unifying Reformed Church in Klipspruit, Soweto. The former Pirates and Cosmos defender was also a member of the church council.

“The way he sang, he loved music, he loved music to the core. We are going to be celebrating his life, from today with songs more than any other thing. We have cried, today we are not crying, we are celebrating them,” says Maneo Tshosane, Church Council Member.

Khomane turned professional at the age of 19 when he joined Jomo Cosmos in 1994 where he played 91 games. He then joined Orlando Pirates in the 1998/99 season, playing 151 games for the Bucs and also got nine Bafana Bafana caps. Papi is the son of another Bucs legend and former captain of the club, Johannes “Yster” Khomane.

“We would like to send them heartfelt condolences it’s not that it was planned like that but it was god’s plan. What I would say to the father Yster. A colleague, a guy that I grew up with, I wonder where he is you know I tried to go to his place but I couldn’t see him because there were a lot of people. What a jolly guy hey. At no stage where I can’t remember seeing him angry and imagine I was shocked in church,” says Ephraim Shakes Mashaba, Former Orlando Pirates defender.

Khomane was fondly loved by his former teammates.

“He was somebody that mentored me as well, he was a very disciplined person. I would never see Papi all over the place. He was someone who was very focused and always wanted the youth improving and going forward, and he always encouraged us to go to school and I think it’s a sad loss for the country and for the football nation,” says Lebohang Mokoena, Former Orlando Pirates forward.

Khomane will be laid to rest at the Nasrec Memorial Park in Johannesburg South on Saturday morning.