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Ntuthuko Radebe: The Sudden and Unfortunate End of an Integral Part of South Africa’s Future

Ntuthuko Radebe’s passing is just as sad and hurtful as it is a loss to a nation, both on and off the field.

Radebe who played for Belgian side KAS Eupen, during five years and also in the last season, died in a car crash in the early hours of Tuesday in his hometown, Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

The 22-year-old who was given a scholarship to the Qatar-based Aspire Academy as a teenager, had considered a move back home with a desire to play in the ABSA Premiership after his contract with Eupen – where he made the move through a link-up between the club and academy in 2012 – was set to expire this summer.

Bidvest Wits defender Sifiso Hlanti, who is also from Newcastle, hailed the former defender whose impact was just at its brewing stages with a lot to contribute to South Africa, despite his career being blighted by injuries that limited his game time.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”Though I was a bit older than him, we grew up together in Newcastle. He was one of the most talented defenders in our township. I was still expecting a lot from him. The country has lost a player who was going to be useful in the future.[/perfectpullquote]

Dumisani Dlamini, one of the deceased’s close friends, according to Sowetan, confirmed the cause of death which also involved four other friends while on their way from town [Newcastle] to their home in eMadadeni.

He commended Radebe’s steady and humble rise to stardom saying, “I cannot compare him to any defender but he was very strong. He was a special player who was always eager to prove himself on the field of play.

“Radebe was a breadwinner and he had built a house for his parents to thank them for raising him. When the accident happened, he had planned to return to Europe the next day.”

SAFA president Danny Jordaan also joined in mourning the passing of the former U-17 and U-20 international.

Jordaan expressed his sadness saying, “The death of a young person who had so much ahead of him is tragic, and as the Association we would like to convey our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Ntuthuko. May they be comforted during these difficult times.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“As a football family we have lost another valuable member at a time when we are throwing all our energies towards Vision 2022 where we believe he could have an integral part of the project.[/perfectpullquote]

“We currently have 19, 22 and 23-year-olds in the COSAFA Cup squad, who are the drivers of Vision 2022, and which is where the likes of Ntuthuko fit in, but unfortunately it is not going to be the case with him. We are deeply saddened by his loss and may his soul rest in peace.”

Radebe played 36 times in his career for KAS Eupen and was instrumental in helping the club into the top-flight ahead of last season.

The club in a condolence message said, [perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“The team, the staff, supervisors, all employees and supporters of KAS Eupen lost a good friend. His kindness, his company, his loyalty, his commitment and good humour have earned him great respect. Ntuthuko Radebe will forever remain a family member of KAS Eupen.”[/perfectpullquote]



Featured Photo: KAS Eupen (Twitter)

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