Soccer fans die in horror crash
By Botho Molosankwe
Four friends from Lenasia were killed on Sunday evening while on their way home from a World Cup game in Nelspruit when a truck smashed into them.
Cousins Achmed, 25, and Mohamed Kolia, 18, and their friends Mohamed Jada, 27, and Raadia Pelwaan, who is in her 30s, were returning from the Italy-New Zealand game.
The four were killed instantly when a truck rammed into them.
It is believed the truck, travelling in the opposite direction, was trying to avoid another truck that appeared from a side road.
It hit another car before finally ramming into the Opel Corsa carrying the five football fans.
Achmed's brother Waseen, 18, the only survivor, was taken to Rob Ferreira Hospital in Nelspruit.
Goolam Kolia, who is Achmed, Waseed and Mohamed's uncle, said on Monday that all five had been excited about the World Cup and had bought tickets to many of the games.
They had attended most of the local games and were very happy when they secured tickets for the Italy game.
"They are Italy supporters, and on the morning of the game they were very excited. They had their Italy jerseys on, their vuvuzelas and their scarves and all their other soccer paraphernalia.
"One of the jerseys was in the other car at another house and they stopped there to collect it, all excited... and now this," a heartbroken Kolia said.
The game started at 4pm, and at its end they called their parents in Lenasia at about 7pm to inform them that they were on their way back.
Kolia said that when they had failed to arrive late that night, the parents became worried and started calling them.
"Their phones went unanswered. At around 12.30am, a paramedic answered and said there had been an accident. There were bodies but he could not identify anyone.
"We were not sure what had happened or who to contact.
"This is such a shock to everyone. Everyone says that road is deadly. Even relatives who have been calling from Durban sympathising with us say they know that road and that it is very deadly," Kolia said, adding that the truck went over the Corsa.
All the dead were Muslims and there were plans to bury them as soon as the bodies arrived from Nelspruit early on Tuesday.