Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis has paid tribute to former national team teammate Makhosi Luthuli following the tragic news that she has passed away at the age of 46 after a long battle with cancer.
Luthuli played for Banyana between 1997 and 2005, earning 48 international caps and appearing in three Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (AWCON) tournaments before retiring in 2006 after almost a decade representing the women’s senior national team.
The midfield stalwart reportedly died in hospital in Scottburgh, KwaZulu-Natal on Monday afternoon. She had been diagnosed with lymphoma cancer back in 2011.
Ellis expressed fond memories of Luthuli, describing her as a hard worker. “She was always smiling, a hard worker and very dedicated to serving the team,’’ she said.
‘’We have lost an honest and principled individual. May her soul rest in peace,” added the Banyana coach.
Despite the physical hardship of living with the large disfiguring facial cancerous tumour on her face, which was eventually removed by a team of doctors led by Dr Frits Hoogendijk at Life Wilgers Hospital in Pretoria, Luthuli’s passion for football saw her continue to coach at her club for the past seven years.
After hanging up her boots, Luthuli established her own academy – The Future Stars Academy in her home town of Mariannhill, near Pinetown, west of Durban, training young girls and boys.
The football community has rallied to remember Luthuli as tributes and condolences continue to pour in for the former Banyana star.
“We have lost a legend, one of the pioneers of women football following our readmission into the FIFA family,’’ said Safa President Dr Danny Jordaan.
One of our own has fallen 😔💔. Former Banyana Banyana stalwart Makhosi Luthuli had been fighting cancer for more than 7yrs. You were always so positive and never showed any fear. Your story of bravery & courage on and off the field will live in our hearts forever . 🕊 pic.twitter.com/DrAfkAL785
— Amanda toki Dlamini (@Amanda_Dlamini9) November 17, 2020
Luthuli Family, did not only make an impact on the political struggles of the country but also in sport through MAKHOSI LUTHULI🕯
— Sunflower wfc (@SunflowerWfc) November 17, 2020
It’s with great sadness to inform you of the passing of our Legend and Ex @Banyana_Banyana Player Makhosi Luthuli. She is one of the KZN stalwards that formed the well known vibrant, and winning Banyana Banyana squad in 1997-2002 era. May her soul Rest In Peace 🙏🏾 https://t.co/2JCbHn5pAD
— Lydia Skillz Monyepao (@lyds_monyeps) November 16, 2020
These are really sad news.Especially after such a successful win over the weekend.Our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends.We will forever be grateful for her contribution in the female football space. May her soul rest in peace.@LadiesWfc @SAFA_net @Banyana_Banyana https://t.co/SyfXq0lKO5
— Mamelodi Sundowns Ladies Team (@SundownsLadies) November 17, 2020
Ooohhh deeply saddened 😢Toki MHSRIP its just like yesterday when I shared incredible moments with you and the other Girls that played with her KZN Sadtu must be shattered at losing such a fine Talent that wanted to groom young girls to be like her and yourself or even better 💔 https://t.co/nJnSuKeQnd
— Tebogo Moloi (@RealTebogoMoloi) November 17, 2020
Pioneers of women's football, our role model, she n other heroines paved the way for us… May your soul rest easy, you fought the good fight and still gave back to football till the very end. Ndlela'nhle Makhosi Luthuli 💐 https://t.co/IgxH0tMYPD
— Simphiwe (@Simphiwe_Dludlu) November 17, 2020
RELATED STORY: Former Banyana star passes on
By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi