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Sat Apr 19 01:15:55 SAST 2014

Tributes pour in for slain Springbok

PHILANI NOMBEMBE | 15 November, 2011 06:071 Comments
Solly Tyibilika during the Tri Nations match between New Zealand and South Africa at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand
Image by: Tertius Pickard / Gallo Images

It was business as usual at the tavern where former Springbok Solly Tyibilika, 32, was killed, with patrons chatting about the incident over beers yesterday.

The flank died when two men opened fire on patrons in Guguletu, on the Cape Flats, on Sunday.

"No arrests have been made," said police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk.

A witness gave an account of the shooting on condition of anonymity.

"It was after [an Orlando] Pirates match when we suddenly heard several gunshots and we took cover. We didn't know who was being shot.

"When we looked up, we discovered that Solly had been shot. The bullets also hit two people who were sitting on the other side of the tavern," the man said.

"I didn't even know Solly played for the Springboks. He was so down to earth. I only heard about it after he died."

People paid glowing tribute to the sportsman, who was originally from Port Elizabeth.

A talented rugby player, he drew controversy both on and off the field. He was reportedly sacked by the Golden Lions in 2007 for failing to attend practice and two months ago he had a run-in with the law.

Tyibilika was arrested for the illegal possession of a firearm.

Van Wyk said: " We cannot release much information until the facts have been established. "

Speaking on behalf of the family, former Springbok manager Zola Yeye said Tyibilika had been trying to revive his career.

His last game for the Springboks was five years ago, against New Zealand.

Yeye said a memorial service will be held for Tyibilika today at Nangoza Jebe Hall, Port Elizabeth. He will be buried on Friday.

"It was a big shock. Solly was a role model to the youngsters. He inspired them and made them believe that they could make it to the top, regardless of their circumstances," said Yeye.

"He was still young and we were looking forward to him coaching and imparting his knowledge. The way he died was despicable."

Tyibilika had been coaching the under-19 team of the Hamilton Sea Point Rugby Football Club. The club president, David Kagan, said the youngsters "adored him".

"We are absolutely gutted. He was a very popular member of our club. It is a very sad loss for us," said Kagan.

"He was a soft-spoken, very humble man . very knowledgable when it came to the game, especially about his position, as a flank. He was never selfish with his knowledge; he imparted it to all."

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Tributes pour in for slain Springbok

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Sat Apr 19 01:15:55 SAST 2014 ::


Nov 15, 2011
Very sad loss indeed.