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Murdered Springbok Solomzi “Solly” Tyibilika died a broke and unhappy man.
The 32-year-old father of two was gunned down while drinking with his friends in a Gugulethu shebeen on Sunday afternoon.
One friend – who did not want to be identified – claims Solly fell in with the “wrong crowd”.
And she says this ultimately led to his violent death.
“He was disappointed in himself for not being able to manage his finances,” she tells the Daily Voice.
“Once upon a time he owned two BMW cars and rented a posh flat in Parklands.
“And now he was in Gugulethu with no money to his name.”
At the height of his fame, Solly earned a whopping R70 000 a month while playing for the Lions.
He was also contracted to SA rugby at the time. But Solly’s career began to go downhill after he was sacked by the Lions in 2007.
His rugby bosses tore up his contract after he failed to turn up for training.
Solly was dropped by the Border Bulldogs at the start of this year.
He never worked in rugby again and was virtually penniless when he was killed in a hail of gunfire at a shebeen in New Crossroads on Sunday.
In fact, the former Springbok was so broke his family cannot even afford to pay for his own funeral.
On Monday night, his former club Hamiltons Rugby Club sent an e-mail to club members appealing for donations to cover his burial.
“As you are all aware, Solly Tyibilika our teammate was tragically taken from us on Sunday,” first team manager Michael Stakemirethe wrote.
“Solly went through difficult times. He has left behind a wife and two children, Solly Junior and Oewth [a nine-month-old daughter].
“It would be appreciated if you would please consider making a donation towards the funeral and other costs that the family are going to have to pay for.”
Solly was executed in a gangland-style hit as he drank with buddies in the backyard of the house.
He also faced charges for illegally possessing a gun.
But cops last night said they do not suspect any gang involvement.
“The motive for the murder is unknown but we do not suspect any gang involvement,” police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk tells the Daily Voice.
* Donations for the funeral can be made via ABSA bank:
Bank Name: ABSA
Account Name: Hamilton School of Excellence
Branch Code: 632005
Account No: 40669887660
*This article was published in the Daily Voice