Monday, 9 November 2015

The TRUTH: Ajax Cape Town coach ROGER DE SA on Cecil Lolo's funeral: the grief, the pain, the LIES

ROGER THAT: De Sa's tweet on the day of Cecil Lolo's tragic death
ROGER DE SA left home for Cecil Lolo’s funeral at 6am in the morning. He returned home at midnight on Sunday exhausted and depressed. Now he is angry. Fuming.

Cecil Sonwabile Lolo was the “True Warrior” in De Sa’s Urban Warriors, a man who emerged from nowhere, with nothing, to become a professional footballer. His death at the age of 27 in a car accident two weeks ago left Ajax Cape Town, part of one of the world’s largest footballing franchises, shattered.

This morning, when De Sa took the side for their first training session since last Friday, Lolo’s seat in the dressing room was left empty and covered in flowers. De Sa says: “That’s how the players felt about Cecil. He was popular, he was respected by all.”


Which is why De Sa is eager to end the witch-hunt orchestrated by Robert Marawa and ANC MEC for Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture Pemmy Majodina after the funeral. De Sa rubbishes claims the players were banned from attending, he points out that Majodina was nearly as late for the funeral as he was and asks WHY DIDN’T ROBERT MARAWA ATTEND?


I’ll leave Roger to tell his story:


“Neal, all this “we didn’t care about Lolo” is pure bullshit. Let me start at the beginning. The day he died. Devastating. We did’t know what to do.

“We sit with the family. Three little kids from two moms who live with his mother. The player has no insurance, nothing whatsoever. No funeral plan. NOTHING. So our chairman Ari Efstathiou says we’ll provide an educational trust for kids, least we can do.

“Then let’s look after the family. His mother and other people he looked after. About eight of them. We have to look after them too. Help them recover from Cecil’s death, they all lived off his money.

“But for the kids (a daughter of six months, two boys of 5 and 8), let’s get a proper education. No company would do that, you know that Neal. We are doing everything we can here.

“Then we retire the number 21. His shirt. We’ll never use it again. Nobody’s ever done that, not even for Senzo.

“We name a stand after him. Did Pirates do that? Then there’s the memorial service in Khayalitsha, his base, his place, where he lived with his family.

“That’s followed (last Friday) by a memorial service for all supporters at our base, Ikamva. And yes, all of our players were involved in both memorials, they said their farewells, they cried, they cared.

“We are always in contact with the family, said we’ll help with funeral arrangements. They wanted to go somewhere remote in Eastern Cape. That wasn’t ideal for us but we had to respect it. We paid coffin, funeral, food, in the region of R50,000.

“We do all that. The one thing I don’t like thinking, and Ari is too scared to say, is everyone is saying the club stopped the players from going. That’s bullshit. I went. Last training session was Saturday morning, next one was today. We’d never stop anyone from going.


“They’re trying to say club stopped people from going. That not true. Some Chippa United players went, they were local. But there was nobody from the PSL, SAFA, no other club. For me to get there, I left at 6am got home after 11pm. How do you expect everybody to get there?


“It was a real trip. First we flew from Cape Town to East London, drove to Butterworth 120km. I thought that was it but then there was the drive to the village (Chebe in Centane).

“Neal, you’re English. You've got no idea, a dust road for about 50km, not even a four-by-four can go on that thing, we crossed river, water, rocks. And all of it in an Avis rental car, it must be buggered.

“We managed to get there 12.30, the funeral had started, we already told the mother we’d be late, she respected that.

“We were there. Listened to a couple of speeches. Then the minister started the real thing. Coffin was carried, Cecil was buried. After that we had to leave, needed three hours to get back to airport. We spoke to the father and the mother. We did everything we could.

“I hear stories Ajax stopped players from attending, all this hogwash. This minister arrived 45 minutes before me, having a political go. Using it as a political tool. DA against ANC. Majodina her name was. She looked disappointed when we got there.

“It’s about Lolo, not politics. Nobody stopped anyone from going, the club felt that’s what they were going to do from the beginning. The family chose the burial site, what more do you want?

“I have to ask. Why didn’t Robert Marawa go? I was there. Some close friends of his were there. But some people just can’t get there. That’s life today, you know what I mean.

“Everyone’s climbing on a bandwagon, trying to be all cultural, it’s very disappointing. Ari is trying to protect the players, obviously they didn’t go. No player came and asked to come because they knew where it was.

“Two memorial services, armbands, minute’s silence, we even stopped the match to clap in the 21st minute. All these things were done. Lolo’s seat is empty in the dressing room with flowers on it. We’re going to put a picture up. We respected his culture.

“I saw a picture of Senzo’s grave the other day, he doesn’t even have a grave stone yet. All the people who are having a go, these soccer journalists who never played football, where were they? Did they pay their respects?

Cecil was “The Real Warrior” to me. We had a very good relationship. I was devastated. It only sank in when I got to the parent’s home in the morning. It hit me.

“You go through it, feel every tear, yet here people are lying about players not being allowed to attend the funeral. What kind of story is that?”

Should any media houses/sites wish to use excerpts from this EXCLUSIVE story, feel free, just credit. And stop trying to capitalise on Cecil Lolo's death.

UPDATE: November 11: This story has been used by Kickoff, The Citizen, News24 and The Times.

FOR BALANCE:
1 What Cecil's dad says: http://www.dispatchlive.co.za/news/lolos-dad-feels-let-down-by-ajax/


2 What Senzo's dad says: http://www.timeslive.co.za/sport/soccer/2015/11/11/Senzo-Meyiwas-dad-furious-at-Khoza-for-going-public-with-insurance-payout


22 comments:

  1. Ya some pepo are jus black inside out #RIP lolo

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  2. Cmon,defence at best level,Aristo said they were waiting for the invite,BTW we blacks dont invite people into our funerals and weddings they just come to pay last respect...so a big Fat Lie

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    1. How does one pay last respect to a wedding ? Huh!

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  4. Out of all the players, not even one attended, can't tell me that Cecil didn't have close friends in the team that wouldn't want to pay their last respect regardless where the funeral was. Find it hard to believe that because the funeral was in the village in EC, all his team mates & colleagues decided not to attended. It rather sounds like the bosses decided to let management represent the club and spare the players. If the players where not stopped from going then what kind of colleagues are they??????? I take my hat off, for all the contributions Ajax did for Lolo's family though.

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    1. There we go again if the funeral of Lolo was held in Europe, a couple of player's would have attended

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    2. I cannot agree with you more, as much as Ajax has done what they did, there is still a very sensitive thing left out and that is to attend the funeral and carry your friend's body to his last resting area. However De sa can get all emotional as much as he want, truth is white people have tendency to look down on cultural dynamics, a bond is truly formed on the day of the funeral. You want to be there on the last day of your friend's body being buried, and I am sure Ajax players would have made a plan to get there. So Roger is talking bull.

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    3. This is really so sad, how can you not attend and pay last respect to your teammate? Last respect, if they wanted to be there, they would have been there but they undermined the place

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  5. Well to Ajax for their contributions and for what they are trying to do #salute. However it cannot be that a club of Ajax caliber does not make sure that all the players go to that funeral. They were suppose to be there to carry the coffin, they were suppose to be there to see where their fellow warrior was laid. De sa complains about Lelo not having policy, I wonder if Ajax educate players about these things. Ajax need to bring Shooz Mekuto back, had he been around I believe he would have advised the chairman better bcoz it is clear that this is a lack of understanding from the chairman side on how things are done in these kind of situations. Memorial services are nothing comparing to the actual funeral. On MEC Majodina she should be ashamed of herself making such utterances when Cecil family is down. Politicians though

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  6. As much as now the blame is in Ajax, yes, they have a fair share of blame. Majodina, simple made it political fir her she came late to the funeral herself. To say that players should have been there to carry the coffin, that utter bull. Funerals are conducted the way a family deems fit. It is not a must, it is just an adopted norm. The players themselves, should take a blame. If one of your own has fallen amd the club refuse to let you go, you make means. Yes, no one is invited to the funeral, and after all we are Africans. At the same time, we cannot expect Ajax as white as it is to understand everything. For instance, in Gauteng we bury in the morning, eapecially in Vhenda, of which people from EC find it strange. Honestly for RDS to arrive after 12 midday, that cannot really be much of an issue. Circumstances like that do happen. Remember these people have never been there and could not antipate such a long journey from EL. From what RDS IS SAYING, AJAX played a huge role and if they commint to their promise, bravo. We inderstand that in an African culture to see peopleat the funeral is the "thee thing". Reality has to understood, times have changed. You can call me anyhow you like, judge me, I do not care; attending a funeral is a personal thing. There are some people that do not like to attend funerals by nature. Not saying it was the case in this instant. It could have been people had expectations as per how they know things normally happen. Robert Marawa himself could have taken it upon himself to be released from his work on Saturday to attend the funeral, but he did not see the need to attend the funeral of the player that he used to praise. I mean Ajax has done two memorial services already. One should ask where did this thing of memorial service came from? It was done for the benefit of those who could not attend the funeral. I believe most people attended the memorial service of which it is a replica of the funeral, just that there is not coffin putting in the grave. As Ajax did not do as expected, so is the entire PSL and entire football fratenity. Where was Mbalula, probably drinking moet in Sandton. May the soul of the young man rest in harmorny.

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  7. there is no excuse of his own teammates not attend LOLO funeral I am so surprised, irrespective of the distance need to be travelled, the fact still remains that everyone( Ajax players, staff o bosses should have went and atleast pay their last respect) period!

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  8. Roger is talking bull, we can never play down the importance of seeing peoplethat shared a life with this individual presented at the funeral regardless of whatever excuse. I am hundred percent sure that Ajax players wanted to be at the funeral at least black players. Roger can be as emotional as much as he want to be, truth is they missed the point.

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  9. Perhaps RDS is missing the point here, of which is typical of the SA community i.e. Managing Diversity. Instead of him fuming and start blaming others trying to sabotage The Urban Warriors, he as the leader must take stock. Ajax CT was not informed on Friday about where the funeral is gonna be. Why will they fly in the morning of the funeral? Didn't they do their travelling arrangements homework? Why did they leave it to the players to go to the funeral if they want to, and not the team arranging that? Does Ajax CT know how to manage the expectations of the black community? To claim that Hlip, as Cecil was affectionately known in Khayelitsha didn't have a funeral policy and the team had to pay for all the funeral expenses, that's a pure indictment to the team. Are they really looking after their assets as employers? Arrogance in this matter will just worsen things. Does he really have an idea on why the black majority of Cape Town would rather rally behind a visiting team than to support Ajax? RDS as a leader must humble himself and be prepared to listen.

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  10. Robert Marawa is not part of Ajax team, his presence won't make any difference, so his teammates are the ones who supposed to attend the funeral dark or blue no excuses was needed,

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  11. After reading the story andiva kamnandi ngoba to me angathi iAjax Cape Town will only attend the funerals of those players zaseziLokishini kuphela yet igalelo lika Lolo ibilifuna 100%. Yes I respect what they have done in preparation for the funeral and the kids future BUT really le yokukhalazela indlela yasezilalini bade bangayi izintloni. What are they doing as the team to educate their players about life beyond football?

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    1. True that, they are selfish as hell

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  12. I like the name of your Blog. Creativity.
    Will Rodger allow you to interview one of his players?

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    1. For me its a clear situation of being ignorant or looking down upon our Black African culture period... This is a shame to our football especially at the highest level of the game.

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  13. I hope what Mr Khoza said in this article, will apply to Cecil and his family.

    http://www.timeslive.co.za/sport/soccer/2015/11/10/Senzo-Meyiwas-multi-million-insurance-paid-out-Khoza

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  14. One thing that a living soul can never do for as long as He or She lives Is To Please Everyone, Ajax played their role those hating without contributing a cent are just useless like the media that never paid respect to #Lolo but waited on the wings to discredit Ajax. As for those Big Headed ,Opportunist politicians we still waiting for Senzo Statue and his killers to be apprehanded.No one held a gun to no Player's head not to attend, they will speak for themselves in due time...#RipLolo

    Sello

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