Anele Ngcongca has been remembered as a “gentle giant” who was “respectful” and always had time to “mentor younger players”.
The former Bafana Bafana defender’s funeral took place in Gugulethu, Cape Town on Thursday following his tragic death in November in a motor vehicle accident on the N2 freeway near Mtunzini in KwaZulu-Natal.
He was 33.
Along with his former team-mates and coaches, Sports Minister Nathi Mthethwa was in attendance and paid tribute to him.
“The role Anele played in maintaining wonderful family bonds must forever be cherished and be applauded. I can only imagine what the family is currently going through, I am certain that the grief that uMama is going through is overwhelming,” Mthethwa said.
”As an active and creative nation, we’re indebted to the family and most importantly the mother of Anele for bringing to earth this wonderful soul and for ensuring that he remains focused to his career until his last day on earth. Anele’s void will forever be felt by all of us,” he added.
Players from Ngcongca’s former club Aces United carried the coffin into the church.
Members of his Mamelodi Sundowns team placed the coffin in the hearse after the service.
NGCONGCA SPENT 9 YEARS IN BELGIUM
Ngcongca made over 300 appearances at the highest levels of European football, turning out in the top flights of Belgium and France.
He won both the Belgian League and Cup with Genk during his nine-year stay with the club.
Ngcongca joined Mamelodi Sundowns in 2016, electing to return home following a brief loan spell at Troyes in Ligue 1.
He claimed three domestic titles at the Brazilians. He lifted the PSL trophy, the Nedbank Cu, and the Telkom Knockout Cup during his four years in Tshwane, scoring once in 42 appearances.
Ngcongca, capped 53 times for South Africa, was set to play for AmaZulu this season before the tragic incident cut his life short.