FOOTBALL legends from across the country descended on Durban to honour the late Senzo Meyiwa.
The retired footballers were invited to take part in an exhibition match against each other during the Senzo Meyiwa Commemoration Games at the King Zwelithini Stadium in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, two weeks ago.
Organisers had promised them an appearance fee for participating. But before they could take to the field to entertain the crowd, they demanded payment. Sources said organisers Ntokozo Sikhakhane and Nathi Ngema were at pains to explain that sponsors had not paid them.
The legends then allegedly told organisers they would not play for mahala because they had abandoned other important commitments in favour of the Senzo Meyiwa spectacle.
Said an informant: “Ntokozo and Nathi tried explaining the situation to the legends, but it didn’t go down well with them.”
According to the second mole, it took the intervention of Senzo’s dad Sam Meyiwa, who pleaded with the legends to play despite the payment setback.
“Out of respect for the old man, the legends decided to play,” the mole said.
When asked to comment, Ntokozo confirmed the story, saying: “The municipality had promised to come on board, but returned to us late, saying they couldn’t fund the event due to other logistics.”
He said a Good Samaritan booked the legends from outside KZN into accommodation in Umhlanga and aided with transport. Depending on the budget, the legends usually get paid a R10,000 appearance fee.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Mthunzi Gumede said he couldn’t confirm nor deny that the municipality had pulled out.
“I’m unaware of the matter and it’s hard to comment as the municipality has many departments. So, won’t guess which department organisers approached,” said Gumede.
Former Orlando Pirates legend, Lucky Lekgwathi, said: “I’ll speak for myself. I wasn’t paid and was not promised any payment. But it didn’t worry me as this wasn’t about money. I played to honour Senzo.”
Another Orlando Pirates legend, Siyabonga Sangweni, said: “Usually, when legends are asked to come and play in games of this nature, they get a small amount money. But with Senzo’s games there was a problem. Knowing Senzo as my home boy, what happened didn’t worry me because money wasn’t a priority, any way. All I wanted to do was show support.”
When asked to comment about the event and payment, Senzo’s father Sam referred all questions to the organisers.