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Footballer Thulani Cele’s father pleads for donations to fund Georgia trip to free son

Thulani Cele was arrested earlier this month. Picture: Supplied

Thulani Cele was arrested earlier this month. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 22, 2022

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Johannesburg - The father of the former Amazulu soccer player Thulani Cele, who is apparently arrested in Georgia, is now pleading with South Africans to help him raise funds for his R13 000 flight tickets to Georgia where he hopes he will be able to free his son.

The father, Bongani Shongwe, said he has decided that he will be travelling to Georgia accompanied by recruiter, Sipho Joyisa, who has offered assistance to the family using his international contacts.

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He says after failed attempts for assistance, he has decided to personally go to Georgia in hopes that he would be able to get clarity about his son’s arrest and assist him to come home.

Shongwe said: “I cannot just sit around and wait, I have to travel to Georgia to see how I can help my son. A flight ticket to Georgia is about R13 000 and I do not have that money and would need donations to raise money for a ticket to travel.”

The 22-year-old soccer player, who hoped to break into international football in Europe, enlisted the help of an agent he met while in the Nedbank Ke Yona squad.

Cele travelled under the impression that he was going for trials at Gagra FC, however, he discovered that it was all allegedly a scam upon arrival in Georgia, when the team said they did not know of any trials.

Cele’s trip resulted in his arrest on June 3, the same day that he was meant to travel back home.

The family was notified of his arrest, however there were no reasons given for the arrest.

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Shongwe is pleading with South Africans and the Department of International Relations to assist with the donation of funds toward his flight tickets so he can get clarity about his son’s arrest and hopefully bring him home.

“I really need to go help my son and donations would ensure that I am able to do that,” said Shongwe.

A spokesperson for Dirco could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, but on Tuesday, they said diplomats at the Polish Embassy would be tasked with ascertaining the facts around Cele’s mysterious arrest.

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