Many soccer fans came to pay their last respects to AmaZulu striker Bonginkosi Ntuli.He was buried today at the Lalakahle Cemetery in Hillcrest outside Pinetown in Durban, KwaZulu Natal. Ntuli passed away on Sunday at a hospital in Pietermaritzburg, on the day he was supposed to have the final ceremony of his wedding, Umabo. The team announced that he died from an ‘aggressive form of cancer’ shortly after being diagnosed.
Speaking on behalf of Usuthu players, a tearful Captain Ramahlwe “Rama” Mphahlele, said that this was the hardest moment for all the players. “We don’t know who will take all the penalties now that he is gone. I was chosen by teammates to speak on behalf of the players as they didn’t have the courage to talk. I agreed to speak on behalf of them, to the family, his wife Sis Snenjabulo, I can only pray for you because I have never been in this situation. All I can say is that we lost a good guy, someone who always shows up to training all the time.
He used to score goals for us when we needed them the most. Bafowethu, I can swear on my life how Bongi was a good person,” said the emotional Mphahlele.
Mphahlele further said that he hopes that the pain the team is feeling will be channelled to the field. “We are in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup, we are two games away from making history. We can go all out and win this one for him,” said Mphahlele, who added that Ntuli visited them at their training ground two days before passing away.
AmaZulu boss and Ntuli’s father-in-law, Sandile Zungu, said that the pain of seeing a loved one suffer does not go away easily. “I wish I was standing here under different circumstances but cancer has no mercy. It takes away the old and the young, this time it came for my son-in-law.
The dark cloud of sorrow has covered us… To my daughter Sinenjabulo who lost her husband, words are not enough to describe what you are going through. If tears could build a stairway, I would walk the fastest lane to bring back home Bonginkosi to you,” Zungu said.
He described Ntuli as a great human being. “During my first interaction with him, I knew that he was more than just a soccer player. When I acquired AmaZulu F.C, I knew early on that a team must be more than a soccer team but a family. This emphasis on family is very important because many soccer players come from a background where a family only exists in name,” he said.
Zungu said that Ntuli was a leader who understood what was expected from him. He added that in 2021, during Covid -19, the team became flat but Ntuli somehow managed to score goals in the heat of the moment. “Most people think that most soccer club owners are worried about relegation.
“What keeps me awake is the fear of losing a player,whether being signed by other teams or being poached by an overseas team. His teammates and soccer fraternity lost a shining soccer star.”
“Bonginkosi showed the light where it was dark. He may be gone but he will never be forgotten,” he said. Ntuli is survived by his parents and his wife Sinenjabulo whom he married in a white wedding on 9 September.