Former South African defender Anele Ngcongca, who died in a car accident near Durban on Monday at age 33, has been hailed by his former coach, Pitso Mosimane, as a “forgotten hero.”
“We were lucky to have him,” Mosimane told AFP, recalling the four years they spent together at Mamelodi Sundowns before they both left the Pretoria team recently.
Mosimane joined the record eight-time African champions Al Ahly from Egypt, while Ngcongca moved to AmaZulu, another top-tier South African club based in Durban.
“He brought a lot of experience to Sundowns having played in Europe and he was a brilliant man. If our opponents had a star attacker, I would assign Anele to follow him.
“On the field he was a great footballer, although often underrated, and off the field he was an absolute gentleman. My condolences to all who knew and loved Anele. “
His agent, former Orlando Pirates coach Mike Makaab, said: “My heart hurts. I lost my son, Anele Ngcongca, a young man with whom I shared a special relationship for more than a decade ”.
Ngcongca came into the squad from South Africa, hosts of the 2010 World Cup, and played in a 2-1 group win over France that was not enough to prevent a first round exit.
Born in Cape Town, he played 53 times for Bafana Bafana as a winger and his last appearance was four years ago.
Ngcongca made his professional debut for FC Fortune in his hometown, then spent nine years in Europe, playing for Genk in Belgium and on loan to Troyes in France.
He died when he was thrown from a car he was a passenger in after he lost control, an AmaZulu official confirmed.