Stanford Chiwanga, Online Reporter
THEMBELENKOSINI Hloli’s best friend Wellington Samadalinja says the death and manner the late Highlanders’ fan died will haunt him forever.
In an exclusive interview Samadalinja, a staunch Dynamos fan, said he is convinced that Hloli’s death was no accident.
“Some people say that Themba was killed by spikes but I am not convinced. His injuries tell a different story. His wounds were caused by a knife or knives. But I am not a doctor so let’s wait for the postmortem, it will put this matter to rest.
“I am a Dynamos fan through and through, if you cut me I bleed blue. So it’s not easy for me to associate the name Dynamos with bad publicity but I am sticking to my guns – I believe Themba was murdered by DeMbare fans,” he said.
Samadalinja said he used to dislike Highlanders but Hloli had made him appreciate Bosso’s style of play.
He said: “Themba made me like Highlanders because he used to drag me to Highlanders’ matches. I learnt to like watching Highlanders even though I will never support the team. I learnt to tolerate opposition fans because of Themba. He was a peaceful man so it saddens me that he died a violent death.”
Samadalinja and Hloli were supposed to team up after the match on Sunday but the violence that erupted made it impossible.
“Themba was wearing Highlanders’ colours and I was wearing Dynamos’ colours so it was impossible for us to be together after the match. In hindsight I believe that if we had stuck together Themba would be alive today. We wouldn’t have this interview. His death will haunt me forever. We were really close and he was indeed a really nice person. We were very close emotionally. We were both Seventh Day Adventists in Sizinda as well. I miss him, we thing most things together. Now i am alone,” Samadalinja said.
Meanwhile, we reported earlier that five people have been arrested over the death of Hloli, soon after the Bosso-DeMbare league match at Barbourfields Stadium on Saturday.
A police officer, suspected to be from Plumtree, is among the suspects who are expected to appear in court today. However, there have been conflicting statements on the cause of death of 23-year-old Hloli as the official position from the police is that he fell on gate spikes while running away from charging Dynamos supporters while the family and some police sources insist he was murdered.
“Police are conducting investigations and we have in custody five suspects, not necessarily from Dynamos. After the match between Highlanders and Dynamos at Barbourfields Stadium there was crowd trouble and five vehicles belonging to football fans and two from the police were damaged,” said national police spokesman, Chief Superintendent Paul Nyathi.
He said one of the soccer fans who had his vehicle stoned managed to identify a group of five men among them Hloli who they chased after.
Two guys ran towards a wholesale firm near Renkini and were immediately arrested by security officers manning the premises, the other two made good their escape while the now deceased tried to jump over the wall of the next building where his friends had just been arrested. Unfortunately he went through some spikes and was badly injured. An ambulance was called but unfortunately when it arrived he had already passed on,” said Chief Supt Nyathi.
He said through investigations five suspects, among them the two who were nabbed at Renkini, have since been arrested.
A family spokesperson and sister to the late Hloli, Hlengiwe told this publication on Sunday that her brother was murdered and they were not buying the spike version.
“He has two stab wounds in the left and right side of his stomach. Initially we were told that he fell on gate spikes but then his body has two deep wounds and the police said if he fell he would have sustained multiple wounds,” Hlengiwe said on Sunday.
Asked to confirm whether one of the Dynamos supporters is a police officer, Chief Supt Nyathi said, “For their identity please call me tomorrow (today), I will be having the details”.
However, police sources confirmed that one of the suspects was a police officer based in Plumtree.