Death of rising soccer star shatters community

The lanky 16-year-old Odwa “Od“ Cishe was described a ”future player who led from the back“.

The death of talented young soccer player, Odwa “Od” Cishe, who was just 16 years old, has left his family, friends and the community of Philippi shattered.

His heartbroken parents, struggling to hold back their tears, told Vukani that losing him felt “surreal”.

“God, that is if it is Him, he did me bad. He has taken my golden boy who loved sports. He was passionate about soccer. That is one thing I loved about him. He was more dedicated to soccer than the outside world,” said his father Zolani Cishe.

Odwa is believed to have been killed after getting into an altercation with a friend who played for an opposing team, during a match last Thursday.

Residents and fellow soccer players said the two had been close friends, but according to an eye witness – whose identity is known to Vukani – things took a turn for the worse when Odwa approached the friend when he was seen near Odwa’s home the following day, Friday July 16.

Both were carrying bricks. But later the witness saw knives being drawn.

“He stabbed Odwa in the chest but I thought he only got his jersey. I then saw blood while Odwa was standing but shaking.

“Still I thought the blood flowing through his legs was not real. He fell and by that time many people were here,” he said, adding that he had tried to separate them.

Mr Cishe was adamant that his son had never been involved in fights and described his son, who was in Grade 9 at Sinethemba High School, as humble and respectful.

“He was not in a gang or all over the place. Soccer was his thing. Even on the day of the tragedy, I thought he was training somewhere with friends. It was a shock to me to get a call that he was stabbed and is in hospital,” he said.

The mom Nosiphosethu said the tragedy had left them devastated.

His team, Valencia Football Club, said it would honour his life as it mourned the untimely death of Od who had a promising future as a leader – in the field of play and outside.

His coach Mveleli Tandwa said Od had left a huge void in the team. “He was very reliable at the back. On many occasions we were dependent on him. But will take his spear and forge forward. Od was very brave and fearless on the field. We will forever remember his smile and jokes,” he said.

Nyanga police spokesperson Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi said a case of murder was being investigated and a that 17-year-old was due to appear in Athlone Magistrate Court on murder charges.

Among those who will miss Odwa, right, is his close friend “Matches”.
Odwa’s father Zolani Cishe, is still shattered about his son’s untimely death.