Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Thursday, November 18, 1999 Published at 19:32 GMT

World: Africa

SA kidnap shocks soccer coach

South African football is in the spotlight with their 2006 World Cup bid

A Brazilian football coach in South Africa is threatening to quit, after being abducted by two men just before a match involving his team.

Swallows coach Walter da Silva: "Soccer here is a serious business"
Moroka Swallows coach Walter da Silva described his three-hour ordeal as a "scary situation" and said he was now ready to "throw in the towel".

"I really feel uneasy," said the 57-year-old in a telephone interview. "My life is at stake here."

"They pushed me to the back seat of the car and said they were going to shoot me if I didn't keep quiet."

Da Silva said he thought the kidnappers, who stole 1,500 rands ($245) from him, were fans unhappy with his coaching.

A native of Rio de Janeiro, he said that during his ordeal on Wednesday afternoon, the assailants forced him to phone two of his assistants as the Swallows began playing the Bush Bucks in a Castle Premier League clash, and tell them to leave the game.

They did. The game continued with the Swallows going behind 1-0.

After Da Silva rang to say he had been released in a shopping centre car park, the Swallows equalised.

No arrests

Police said they had opened an investigation but had made no arrests.

[ image: Walter da Silva: An experienced coach in the South African game]
Walter da Silva: An experienced coach in the South African game
The Johannesburg-based Swallows have only lost two of 10 games since Da Silva became coach four months ago, but are in the bottom half of the table.

Da Silva said that earlier this week he received death threats after Swallows were thrashed 5-1 in a weekend game.

Police had to protect him from angry fans who stormed onto the pitch.

"When I lose, they're coming like a mob and want to kill me," said Da Silva, who was meeting with team officials on Thursday to discuss his security.

South Africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world and it is proving a major concern for campaigners hoping to bring the 2006 World Cup to South Africa.

Some crimes have spilt over onto the football pitch.

Recently a referee killed a player during an unsanctioned match, in which heavy betting was said to be involved.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Internet Links

South African Football Association

Castle Premier League

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

Sudan power struggle denied

Animal airlift planned for Congo

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Zimbabwe constitution: Just a bit of paper?

South African gays take centre stage

Nigeria's ruling party's convention

UN to return to Burundi

Bissau military hold fire

Nile basin agreement on water cooperation

Congo Brazzaville defends peace initiative

African Media Watch

Liberia names new army chief