Bulls fan: I did it for Basson
Pretoria - “I apologise to the Blue Bulls Company, the public, the fans and South Africa,” said the man who was arrested at Loftus Versfeld for throwing an energy drink bottle at Blues captain Keven Mealamu.VIDEO: Johannes Nel throws water bottle at Keven MealamuVIDEO: Rene Ranger tackles Bjorn Basson
According to the IOL website
, Johannes Nel, 54, a boilermaker from Welbekend, said he was not at Loftus to make trouble. He said he was a devoted Blue Bulls fan and was concerned that Bulls wing Bjorn Basson was injured after scoring a try in the dying minutes of the match, a match the Bulls ultimately lost 29-23.
Basson appeared hurt after he was tackled by Blues wing Rene Ranger, who has subsequently returned to New Zealand after he was yellow carded and banned for two weeks
“My only concern was that Basson was all right,” Nel said.
He explained that he and some friends occupied seats on the east pavilion. “We were just about to leave, as it had started raining and there was about three minutes left of the game. This is when Basson scored and was injured. As I saw him lying on the field I panicked and thought he was hurt. I moved down and climbed over the barrier to see if he was all right,” he said.
Nel said he tapped Basson on the back and asked him if he was all right. At that stage someone had handed him (Basson) a bottle of water and he took a sip, turned around and said: “Ek is OK dankie, oom” (I am OK thank you, uncle.)
Nel said Basson then walked back onto the field and he noticed that he had left his water behind.
“I picked up the bottle, called his name, and as he looked around, I passed him his water. This is when it hit the Blues captain,” he said.
Nel said that looking back at what happened, he realised he had done wrong.
“I can understand why they reacted that way but I was not there to make trouble.”
Nel, who has been charged with common assault, was due to appear in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Monday, but according to the State prosecutor to whom the case was assigned, the case wasn’t placed on the roll.
The prosecutor explained that Nel’s docket was screened but not enrolled as it was up to the complainant to initiate further proceedings.
Nel was arrested at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday following the incident and was briefly detained at the Sunnyside police station.
Blue Bulls Company chief executive officer Barend van Graan said no decision had been made on whether Nel would be barred from visiting Loftus.
“We are waiting for the outcome of the court case and will take it from there,” he said.