South African footballer dies at age 29 after collapsing in training

Siphamandla Mtolo, a midfielder for Richards Bay FC in South Africa’s top division, died on Tuesday after collapsing in training, according to the club. Mtolo was 29.

In a social media post, the team said Mtolo collapsed Tuesday morning and it was not in a position to provide further information at this stage, asking that the Mtolo family’s “privacy is respected in this difficult time of bereavement.”

The club did not mention a cause of death in their statement.

“His presence both on and off the pitch will be sorely missed. Thoughts and prayers of everyone in Richards Bay Football Club are with his family, friends and loved ones.”

CNN reached out to Richards Bay FC for comment from Mtolo’s representation but did not immediately receive a response.

The Richards Bay FC post noted a further statement on Mtolo’s passing would be issued “in due course.”

The official account of the Premier Soccer League, which administers professional football in South Africa, also issued a statement on Twitter.

“The PSL is deeply saddened by the untimely passing of Richards Bay Football Club midfielder, Siphamandla Mtolo,” it reads.

“A moment of silence will be observed in his honour at this week’s Nedbank Cup and DStv Diski Challenge fixtures.”

Several other teams in the competition offered sympathies on social media, including Kaizer Chiefs and Cape Town City FC.

The South African Football Association expressed its “sincerest condolences, deepest sympathy and heartfelt sorrow” in a press release.

Mtolo joined Richards Bay FC, based in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa, in 2020. He was part of the team that won the 2021/22 GladAfrica Championship, and thus earned promotion to the country’s premier division with his team.

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