Bloody Coca-Cola Cup shootout claims life of former Chippa United and Royal AM coach
The soccer fraternity has been rocked by the killing of Michael Lukubeni. On Sunday, he and another coach, whose identity has not yet been revealed, were gunned down in front of spectators on Lingelethu sports field in Site C in Cape Town.
The double murder occurred at about 17.50pm on Sunday during the South African Football Association (Safa) Cape Town Coca-Cola Cup match between local teams Hotspurs and Tottenham Spurs, the team Lukubeni managed.
Tottenham annihilated their opponents Hot Spurs from Nyanga 6-0 to advance to the next round (quarterfinal stage) of this competition dubbed as Cape Town’s FA Cup.
Confirming the shooting, police spokesperson Sergeant Wesley Twigg said according to reports the victims were approached and shot by unknown gunmen. Both victims, he added, had gunshot wounds to the heads and were pronounced dead by paramedics.
“The motive for the attack is yet to be determined. The suspects fled the scene and are yet to be arrested,” Twigg explained.
Tottenham Spurs, affiliated to the Manenberg Local Football Association (LFA), hails from gang-ravaged Manenberg. At this stage, it is not clear whether the incident is gang-related.
On Monday Safa Cape Town president and national Safa vice president Bennett Bailey along with Natasha Tsichlas and Linda Zwane of Safa told Daily Maverick: “The shooting incident has nothing to do with football, the game was finished a long time ago and Tottenham won the game 6-0.
“This incident tarnished soccer’s image because we refer to it as the ‘Beautiful Game’. Now that this terrible incident has occurred on the soccer field, it has tainted the game.”
Bailey went on to say that the shooting incident will have an influence on attendance for the next round of Coca-Cola Cup games.
“Violence has absolutely no place in football, and we condemn this in the strongest form. It is important that our players, staff and supporters feel completely and entirely safe at our venues and we will work with all stakeholders to do our absolute best to ensure the safety of all,” Bailey said.
He reiterated that the incident will affect the attendance of the next round of Coca-Cola Cup games, therefore Safa Cape Town with their executive will work with SAPS and neighborhood watches to be present at the next games.
Safa Cape Town have further indicated they will only comment on the matter once more information is available and authorities have given permission to share.
Due to the sensitive nature of the incident, former PSL players and coaches spoke on condition of anonymity with Daily Maverick. One Cape Town former PSL player and coach said he is aware of gang kingpins in several areas arranging soccer tournaments on Sundays or long weekends.
“Several gangsters will come together and put a bet of example R20,000 for the winner. These types of tournaments drew bigger crowds than normal Safa games.
“Another way gangsters are breaking into and slowly gaining traction in soccer is by purchasing soccer balls and outfits for the poorest soccer clubs in needy communities. This is how gangsters take over soccer tournaments in the poorest communities,” stated the former PSL coach.
The shooting incidents come days after violent acts of hooliganism and thuggery during an ABC Motsepe National Playoffs semi-final on Friday, 9 June in Pietermaritzburg.
The ugly scenes occurred at the end of the semi-final match between Umsinga United and Orbit College at Harry Gwala Stadium to secure their spot in next season’s Motsepe Foundation Championship.
Safa has since asked security and the referee to compile a full report. The soccer body indicated they will prioritise the investigation into this incident.
The soccer governing body has vowed to firmly pursue this matter and warned that any individual or club found guilty of these crimes would be blacklisted. DM