Sibongiseni Gumbi
Football Writer
2 minute read
21 Jun 2022
10:31 am

Family left worried after Ke Yona graduate disappears while on trial overseas

Sibongiseni Gumbi

“As a family we are very concerned about the disappearance of Thulani," says the father.

Thulani Cele (left) has gone missing while on trial in Georgia (Photo: Shaun Roy/Gallo Images)

The family of former Nedbank Cup Ke Yona talent search graduate Thulani Cele of Umlazi in Durban has been left worried after he disappeared while on trial in Georgia. 

ALSO READ: Chiefs pull ‘Jacob Zuma’ stunt, announce player reshuffle late at night

Cele, who was picked by AmaZulu when the Ke Yona draft was made, did not make the grade at the Durban side. His father, Bongani Cele told the SAfm sports team on Monday that they do not know what happened to him.

“As a family we are very concerned about the disappearance of Thulani. He left on 4 May for trials in Georgia. On 3 June, he called to say he’s coming back home but he never arrived,” said Cele. 

“We then got a call from someone in Georgia saying he has been arrested. We haven’t heard from him since then.”

He explained that an agent who had been part of the Ke Yona talent search team had organised the trials at Gagra FC.  

“An agent called Baggio from the Ke Yona team search is the one who organised the trials for Thulani. But as a family we paid for everything which we found to be strange. 

“Thulani told us he was having problems at the hotel because Baggio had not paid. He called us crying to say he’s not even eating there. Apparently when my son got there, he was told the team was away and he couldn’t train. 

“Then he was told the coach had been fired and he must wait until a new one (was hired so he can be assessed). Eventually, he didn’t even trial with this team called Gagra FC.” 

Cele said they had tried everything they could to get help in locating their son.

“As a family we have tried everything. We called the SA government, they told us they don’t have an embassy in Georgia. We now don’t know what to do, that’s why we have come on your radio station. Things are tense in our house, we can’t even sleep cos we don’t know where our child is.

“We had paid everything, including his return ticket. But while he was there he kept telling us that the situation is not good, he’s not even eating. 

“That’s when he decided to come back home on that ticket. But it looks like he didn’t get on the plane. What we also don’t understand as the family is that there was another SA player there with Thulani, his name is Masego. 

“This player was staying with Thulani and was able to come back home from Georgia but not Thulani.”