Orlando Pirates news: Former club captain Papi Khomane, aged 48, and his mother, Rita Khomane, tragically lost their lives in a car accident while en route to a funeral in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal.
The news was confirmed by Papi's father, Johannes ‘Yster' Khomane, himself a Pirates legend.
Papi Khomane, who retired from football in 2007 after playing over 150 games for the Soweto giants, began his professional career at Jomo Cosmos in 1994 before joining Orlando Pirates in 1998.
A former defender, he earned nine caps for Bafana Bafana between 1998 and 2000. Orlando Pirates shared their condolences, describing Papi as a man of few words but a leader on the pitch.
Orlando Pirates news: Statement on Papi Khomane's passing
The official statement from Orlando Pirates expressed deep sorrow over the loss of their former captain.
“On behalf of Orlando Pirates, we convey our heartfelt and deepest sympathy to the Khomane family and pledge our profound moral support,” the club stated.
“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.”
The statement also acknowledged the rare father-son legacy Papi shared with his father, who played for the Buccaneers in the late 1970s.
“His journey with the Club was not just about his contributions on the field; it was about continuing a legacy,” the statement added.
“Papi and his father Yster, who played for the Buccaneers in the late 70s, were one of the rare father-son duos in the club’s history.
“This familial legacy is a testament to the deep connection the Khomane family has with the club.”
The statement paid tribute to the familial legacy of the Khomane family with the club and honored the remarkable woman behind their successes, Mrs. Rita Khomane, describing her as the cornerstone of support.
“However, we cannot speak of Papi and Yster Khomane without honouring the remarkable woman behind their successes, Mrs. Rita Khomane,” the club added.
“Rita was the cornerstone of support for both her husband and son. Her unwavering presence at our home matches was a testament to her dedication and love for the game and our club.”
PSL mourns and observes a moment of silence
The Premier Soccer League (PSL) also expressed its sadness on X, mourning the passing of Papi Khomane and other family members in the accident.
A moment of silence will be observed in their honour at all PSL fixtures, commencing on Sunday afternoon.
☠️ Rest in peace, Papi.
— Orlando Pirates (@orlandopirates) November 25, 2023
The league extended heartfelt condolences to the Khomane family and the football community at large.
This tragedy has left the Orlando Pirates today's community and the football fraternity in mourning, remembering the legacy of Papi Khomane as a true Buccaneer and leader on and off the pitch. May their souls rest in peace.
This article was most recently revised and updated 3 months ago