Johannesburg - The newly appointed Gauteng MEC for Sport Molebatsi Bopape on Thursday expressed her sadness over the death of former soccer player Isaac 'Shakes' Kungwane.
“Shake's passing is indeed very sad and hurting. His untimely death has surely sent shockwaves to all sport loving people throughout the country especially within the soccer fraternity,” Bopape said in a statement.
“An incredible talent on the field and one of the last few players who displayed the style of football which drew large crowds to the stadia only mastered by greats like Ace Ntsoelengoe, Jomo Sono, Professor Mlungisi Ngubane to mention a few.”
Kungwane died in hospital on Wednesday, aged 43.
Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund, in New Zealand with the national side, earlier Thursday paid tribute to his former charge.
“On behalf of the Bafana Bafana team, the guys this morning, we all said a prayer for him and for his family,” Igesund said.
“We want to give our deepest condolences to his family, friends, his wife, his kids and his brothers and his sisters.”
The former Kaizer Chiefs star, who was also capped by South Africa, played under Igesund at Manning Rangers in 1998, and Igesund said he had fond memories of the charismatic Kungwane.
The Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni Mondli Gungubele sent his condolences to the family of the former player and SuperSport presenter.
“This is a sad day for the country, especially the sporting fraternity,” Gungubele said in a statement.
“This is a life gone too soon because I believe that this young man still had plenty to teach our youngsters in terms of his favourite sport - football.
“I couldn't believe my ears. It was only a few weeks ago when I saw Shakes on television analysing the game between Chiefs and Sundowns and he was his usual self, sharing his views with a bit of humour.”
Gungubele said Kungwane would always be remembered for his jovial character and the dribbling skills he showcased in the field of play during his heyday.
The SA Football Players Union sent its condolences to the family and friends Kungwane.
“Shakes was one of the best midfielders this country has ever produced and he went on to represent South Africa twice,” SAFPU spokesman Peter Khoabane said in a statement.
“He will be remembered by all the football loving nation of our country, for he has been the great ambassador for our South African Football to the rest of the world. Rest in peace Qabani, our leader.”
Cultural Affairs and Sport MEC in the Western Cape Nomafrench Mbombo expressed her sorrow at Kungwane's death.
“Shakes enjoyed an illustrious sporting career and inspired many to follow in his footsteps. His contribution to sport extended beyond the field when he took up commentary and analysis, and kept millions of viewers entertained,” she said in a statement.
“Kungwane was not only a sporting and television icon but he was role model that both young and old South Africans could emulate. His life exemplified hard work and dedication both on and off the field.
“His memory will always live in our hearts. We remind South Africa to take a moment to remember his life and his contribution to sport and a sense of national pride. Lala ngoxolo Shakes.”