Soccer fraternity pays tribute to ex-Orlando Pirates captain Papi Khomane, killed in a car crash

Papi Khomane in action for Orlando Pirates during the 1998/1999 league season

Papi Khomane in action for Orlando Pirates during the 1998/1999 league season. Photo: Gavin Barker/BackpagePix

Published Nov 27, 2023


Tributes have poured in for former Orlando Pirates captain Papi Khomane, who was killed in a car crash in KwaZulu-Natal over the weekend.

The former Bafana Bafana and Pirates defender, along with his mother and brother-in-law, were killed in a crash on their way to Newcastle in KZN.

Khomane’s death was confirmed by his father Yster Khomane, himself an Orlando Pirates legend.

One of those who paid their tributes was Kaizer Chiefs icon Doctor Khumalo, who played alongside him in the national team, and was a rival in the Soweto derby.

“Papi was very solid at the back, and he leaves us in this world not even a single time have I heard of him complaining of his life or anything that he needs,” Khumalo said.

“He just decided to be a boy that goes to church with his mum.”

There were also tributes from the Premier Soccer League, sports minister Zizi Kodwa, and the Economic Freedom Fighters after Khomane’s passing at the age of 48.

“The League sends heartfelt condolences to the Khomane family and the football community at large. A moment of silence will be observed in their honour at all PSL fixtures this week, commencing on Sunday afternoon,” the League said.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Mr Yster Khomane, the Khomane family, and the entire South African football fraternity,” said the minister.

Khomane joined Pirates from Jomo Cosmos in 1998, and went on to spend nine years with the club, making over 150 league appearances in a career that was heavily affected by injuries.

In their tribute after his passing, Pirates said: "Orlando Pirates Football Club is saddened to learn of the passing away of former captain Papi Khomane.

"The Club was informed by his father and another Bucs legend, Yster Khomane who confirmed that both his son and his wife Mrs Rita Khomane were involved in a motor vehicle accident [on Saturday].

"Papi was a man of few words, but his presence on the pitch spoke volumes. His transformation from a quiet individual into a formidable leader during games was nothing short of inspirational."

Khomane famously made his international debut against Egypt at the FNB Stadium in 1998, a game where Bafana Bafana came from behind to win the game thanks to a brace by Benni McCarthy.

Khomane was voted man-of-the-match, but his international career failed to lift off due to injuries.

IOL Sport