Vizicelo Zondani: South African rugby player dies in illegal game that breached Covid protocols

Jack de Menezes
·2-min read
SA Rugby are investigating the death of a player in a tournament that was not supposed to be taking place (AFP via Getty)
SA Rugby are investigating the death of a player in a tournament that was not supposed to be taking place (AFP via Getty)

The South African Rugby Union has launched an immediate investigation into the death of a young player for Border Rugby Club during a match at the weekend despite all amateur games being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

SA Rugby issued a statement on Wednesday morning to express their condolences following the death of Vizicelo Sebenza Zondani, who died following an accident during a rugby tournament at Ngqwele Location near King William’s Town in the Eastern Cape province.

No other details surrounding Zondani’s death are known at this time.

But SA Rugby have expressed grave concerns regarding how a tournament was staged in the first place given the current suspension on all amateur rugby in South Africa since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, with a decision already made to cancel games for the entirety of 2020.

“This is a tragic incident that should never have happened, and our hearts go out to the family, friends and team-mates of Vizicelo,” said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

“Unfortunately, this goes directly against our Covid-19 guidelines around return to training, as all amateur rugby matches have been suspended for the year due to the pandemic and all our unions, clubs and other bodies know this.

“This tournament should never have taken place and we will launch a full investigation into the incident, as well as the tournament.”

Professional teams only returned to action this month, with South African clubs completing the Super Rugby Unlocked competition that is expected to be their final participation in the southern hemisphere tournament before switching their attentions to European rugby and an expanded Pro14 next season.

The Springboks withdrew from the Rugby Championship against Australia, New Zealand and Argentina earlier this month due to fears their players would be severely undercooked against their international rivals, meaning they currently do not have a fixture scheduled until next year’s British and Irish Lions tour in July.

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