11 April marks exactly 20 years since the Ellis Park disaster. 43 supporters were killed in a stampede during the game between Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in 2001. Radio Personality Putco Mafani spoke with eNCA's Morena Mothupi. Courtesy of #DStv403
JOHANNESBURG - Sunday marks exactly 20 years since the Ellis Park disaster.
43 supporters were killed in a stampede during the game between Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates in 2001.
It's been deemed the country's worst sporting accident.
Radio personality Putco Mafani was at the game. He was a public relations officer for Chiefs at the time.
Mafani recalls the evening, saying he reflects on it every year by meditating and being thankful.
"It has been 20 years now and every year, one wakes up in the morning and sort of meditates and thanks the Lord to have survived. And also to have been used to bring back sanity on that fateful night," he said.
"There needed to be somebody that would stand and bring back the order. There needed to be a man and I believe with every crisis God has a tendency to appoint a man, and I believe that night he appointed me to be able to restore order and to minimize the damage."
"Look, 43 is a big number, even if one person had died that night, hat one person, that one - that would be a big deal still. So it is a day that in most cases brings me mixed emotions; it brings me sadness to have seen and witnessed the bodies lying on the field just outside the goal line on the northeastern side of the pitch at Ellis Park Stadium; it brings sadness but also brings a sense of determination that never again should we as football officials find ourselves in a situation like that. And I think the third element about it is thinking about the families of the 43 that passed away that fateful night."