Former Vaal Reef Stars and Ratanang Maholosiane goalkeeper Themba Biko has died following a short illness. Biko died at the age of 62 on 3 February due to low blood pressure after being admitted at a hospital in Parys on 26 January.
Biko was amongst the first players to get a call-up in the first Bafana Bafana squad after Mzansi was readmitted into the international fold after the fall of apartheid.
That national team beat Cameroon 1-0 in an international friendly at Durban’s King’s Park Rugby Stadium on 7 July in 1992.
However, he didn’t get a chance to play as Mark Anderson was the preferred choice in goals alongside the likes of Doctor Khumalo and the late Phil Masinga.
His football career ended on 1 October in 1992 when he was involved in a tragic car accident that left him paralysed and confined to a wheelchair.
However, he didn’t allow his disability to ruin his life as he was involved in a lot of projects to help uplift his community of Tumahole in Parys, Free State province.
Biko’s sister Nombulelo Booi told Daily Sun that she would miss her brother who was a hands-on man as he took the father figure role after their dad died in 2007.
Explained Booi: “When my father died, he became a father to us. He was very strict and wanted things to be done in an orderly manner. We didn’t feel the absence of our father because he was always there for us in good and bad times.”
Booi said that Biko was loved by the community as he helped them to survive through various projects.
She went on: “Themba didn’t feel pity for himself after the accident and he was involved in the project called Peoples Housing Program (PHP) to build houses for his community and got an award for doing a great job. He also developed youngsters and placed them with many local football clubs. He eventually formed his own football club called Dangerous Darkies that is currently playing in the local amateur league. He helped to form the Parys Local Football Association to ensure all the clubs abide by the rules of the game. He formed the Tumahole Self-help Association and worked there with his wife Mary to help the disabled with food, education and agricultural projects. He was a true leader and will be sorely missed.”
His former teammate at Ratanang, Daniel “Mambush” Mudau said that he always remembers Biko for his jokes.
“Themba hated losing and was always focused on his career. He had a great sense of humour and made the team laugh. When we played in Bloemfontein or Joburg we will arrive without feeling the long trip because he made us laugh. He was a family man as he always spoke about his kids and wife. We were hurt when he got injured in the accident. Condolences to his family.”
Biko will be buried on Saturday 12 February and the funeral service will be held at 10551 Tambo Section in Tumahole at 7.30am.
The procession will then continue to Multipurpose Sports Centre in Parys at 11 am then to the graveyard.
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