Tributes have been pouring in for 31-year old Free State Stars striker Richard Henyekane, who passed away in a car accident on Tuesday. Henyekane played as a striker or attacking right wing, at Golden Arrows, Mamelodi Sundowns and Ea Lla Koto. His best days were at Arrows where he bagged three hat-tricks, ending with 19 league goals, as well as a further Telkom Knockout hat-trick, and a total of 23 goals for the 2009/10 season.
Henyekane made nine official appearances with the senior national team, Bafana Bafana. Stars Chairman Mike Mokoena said: ‘Free State Stars Football Club is aggrieved at the passing of Richard Henyekane. He was one of the most established footballers in South Africa who will be remembered by many for his exploits in front of goal and his high work rate. He was indeed a great player at our club and he will be missed enormously. We extend our sincere condolences to the Henyekane family and the South African football fraternity at large. While we mourn the loss of a very young life, we are deeply honoured to have enjoyed such a short but successful association with Richard.’
SAFA President Danny Jordaan says: ‘Another soldier has fallen. Richard’s death comes at a time when we were not really done grieving the passing away of his brother Joseph. SAFA would like to send out our deepest sympathies to the Henyekane family for their heartbreaking loss. We can never know how much pain you are in but just know that you are in our prayers and we ask that the Almighty grant you strength in these trying times. May his soul rest in peace.’
PSL CEO Brand De Villiers said: ‘The passing of Richard Henyekane comes as a big shock to us in the football family. I cannot imagine the pain his family is going through, considering the fact that four months ago they buried Richard’s younger brother Joseph. On behalf of the League and our clubs we would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and his club Free State Stars during this difficult time.’ SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the death of a great footballer who contributed immensely to football in South Africa. May his soul rest in peace and our thoughts are with him and his family during these extremely sad times.’
Henyekane’s memorial service will be held on Thursday, 9 April 2015 at Dihlabeng Town Hall, Bethlehem (next to Free State Stars Football Club offices), at 10:30. His funeral service will be held on Saturday 11 April 2015 at his hometown, 6849 Makapane Street, Vergenoeg, Galeshewe, Kimberley.