By Agreement Mabunda
JOHANNESBURG – The uncle of 11-year-old Kabelo Masalesa, who tragically drowned in a swimming pool on 17 July after the boys returned from a soccer session during his soccer team’s visit to Palestine, said the family was devastated.
Eighteen players from the Alexandra Northrand Local Football Association and 10 staff members were provided flights and stipends to participate in a free soccer tournament hosted in Palestine.
Kabelo was one of six young soccer players chosen from Alexandra, Johannesburg along with 14 from Cape Town to take part in a football development trip in Palestine to participate in soccer matches with players from that country.
Kabelo’s teammates arrived back in South Africa on 22 July, without their teammate and friend whom they fondly called KB.
Kabela was a talented soccer player, who played midfielder for the Black Poison, U13 team.
The Department of Sports Arts and Culture said they were focused on getting further details as Palestinian authorities investigated the circumstances around the drowning.
Kabelo’s coach and family said he was always smiling and encouraging his teammates.
His uncle, Alfred Mambolo, said: “We are broken beyond measure… but we are comforted by the department and Minister Nathi Mthethwa as they are assisting us in order to get his remains back to South Africa as soon as possible.”
The teams were selected from a Free Palestine Solidarity Football Tournament that was held in Alexandra, Johannesburg early this year by the Embassy of the State of Palestine and involved U13 teams from the township.