By CHRIS TOTOBELA
Makhanda’s football fraternity suffered another great loss with the passing of the legendary Joza Callies goalkeeper, Misile Krismesi Ntlanjeni.
At the time of his passing last week after a short illness, he was part of Callies’ technical team.
Ntlanjeni came from a great footballing family known for producing great goalkeepers – and he was undoubtedly on top of the list. He was one of the great shot-stoppers not only in Makhanda but in the entire region.
On Saturday, 28 August, people came in numbers to bid farewell to this icon who dedicated his life to football development in Makhanda. Speaking on behalf of Joza Callies, former teammate Likhaya Ngandi told the masses how good Ntlanjeni was as a player and how much he loved his team.
“Krismesi dedicated his life and talent to Callies, the only team he played for since childhood. I would also like to thank all the clubs that are here today to pay their last respect to one of Makhanda’s greatest footballing sons.”
Former Juventus defender and current Rising stars chairman Elvis Bill described Ntlanjeni as one of the best opponents he has ever faced and sent his heartfelt condolences to his family.
Another football great, Black Stars chairman and former Royals centre back Andile Mpulani, described Ntlanjeni as a rare breed.
“Krismesi was not just a good goalkeeper, but he was special. He showed his class and talent when the then big four of Makhand football were in their prime, namely Joza Callies, XI Attackers, Juventus and Royals. His agility and intelligence made it very difficult for opponents to score against him. We have really lost a true legend, and our prayers are with his family,” Mpulani said.
Speaking on behalf of the only women football side in Makhanda and seven times regional champions African Connection WFC Bongani Dingana praised Ntlanjeni for the work he did on and off the field and the role he played in assisting up-and-coming goal minders.
Ntlanjeni will be dearly missed not only by his family but the entire football family as he was a regular at JD Dlepu stadium, the home of local football.
A few years ago the local football association hosted a pre-season tournament dedicated to him in honour of what he had achieved and contributed to local football.
This was a fitting farewell to a true legend loved by many and who was always willing to extend a helping hand irrespective of affiliation.