Soccer Laduma readers, we hope you will understand and accept our decision to use this space to pay tribute to one of our fallen heroes, Dejan Miladinovic, who has worked with this publication on a number of projects, one of which was the Soccer Laduma Supporters Club. Dejan passed away a day after Richards Bay FC’s captain and midfielder, Siphamandla Mtolo, collapsed and died at training. Please read more about his passing on page 14. Masilo Machaka knew Dejan better than most. At the end of the day, Soccer Laduma is a people’s publication and therefore it is a no-brainer that we have to pay homage to Dejan. Over to you, Chaks! – Editor.
Thank you so much, guys, I really appreciate Soccer Laduma giving me a chance to pay tribute to my brother and friend. Dejan is Serbian and he arrived in the country in 1992 with his uncle as they were running away from a war (Bosnian war) in their country. He was lucky to get a job at Spar and then he told his manager that he wanted to buy tickets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup so that he could watch a couple of games live. The manager agreed that that was a good idea. The World Cup came and it was time for him to take some time off to watch the games. The manager told him he couldn’t take time off because the shop was busy and they needed all hands on deck. So, there was not even going to be time for everyone to watch the games, unless they were off or the games played after their shifts finished. Dejan told the manager, “No, man! You agreed for me to buy the tickets and now this? My friend, thank you very much for your job!” That was the last time they saw him at Spar and that speaks to the passion the man had for football. He really enjoyed the World Cup and even took me to some places after Serbia’s games.
A few weeks ago, me and him were watching cricket at the Wanderers Stadium and he told me he wasn’t feeling well. I thought he was just being moody or bored, so I told him, “My man, you know unlike football, cricket is where we spend the whole day at the stadium, relaxing. What’s wrong with you?” He begged me to take him home because he wasn’t well and now I could also see that he wasn’t himself. We left the stadium and drove home. The next day, I took him to hospital and he was admitted. People don’t know that we’ve been sharing a flat for the past three years or so, therefore we did pretty much everything together, every day! I’m really devastated by his passing because I last saw him on Tuesday. Before my visit, I called to check if there was anything he wanted me to bring him and I could hear that he was really struggling to even complete a sentence. That’s when I decided to rush to the hospital. When I got there, I could see that he wasn’t well at all, as he was even struggling to breathe. I asked the doctor what was going on and they told me his blood wasn’t flowing properly, so they were going to take blood samples and send them to the lab to see what was the real issue. I was there for about two hours and we were relaxing and talking.