South Africa mourn Meyiwa

LONDON - South Africa's football captain Senzo Meyiwa has died after being shot dead during a burglary, police say.

He was reportedly attacked after men entered his girlfriend's house in Vosloorus, south of Johannesburg.

His agent described him as a humble man from a tough background who had become a "hero in everyone's eyes".

The 27-year-old was the goalkeeper for Orlando Pirates and had played in South Africa's last four Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

On Saturday, he was in action for his club, when they progressed to the semi-finals of the South African League Cup, beating Ajax Cape Town 4-1.

In a statement, the South African Police Service said two men had entered the house, around 20:00, demanding mobiles phones and valuables. A third man remained outside.

All three fled on foot after shots were fired.

The footballer may have been trying to defend his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, a South African singer and celebrity, when he was shot, reports said.

He was declared dead on arrival at hospital.

Police said on Sunday evening that they were breaking protocol to announce his death so soon after the shooting.

Relatives and fans gathered outside the hospital and Ms Khumalo's house to grieve over Meyiwa's death.

South African President Jacob Zuma said in a statement on Monday: "We mourn the death of this young footballer and team leader whose life has been taken away at the prime of his career. Words cannot express the nation's shock at this loss."

Ephraim Mashaba, head coach of South Africa's football team wept during a news conference called on Monday in response to the footballer's death.

"Senzo was a very kind person," he said. "I have never seen Senzo being sad or angry in the camp."

Urging Meyiwa's team-mates and colleagues to stay strong, he added: "Senzo is a team player, Senzo is everything."

His words were echoed by South Africa midfielder Dean Furman who told the BBC that Meyiwa was "just the nicest guy you could wish to meet".

"It's tragic, so sad", Furman added. "He has a young family so there's more to it than losing a footballer. Someone's lost a dad."

Meyiwa's agent Mike Makaab called the death "a huge shock", saying that Meyiwa was "really a hero in everybody's eyes".

Team mate Tsepo Masilela was among many voicing their shock at the news on social media.

"How do you kill someone for a cellphone?" he tweeted, saying the whole country was at a loss.

"When does it STOP South Africa?" wrote Darren Keet, the national team's number two goalkeeper. – BBC Sport

Comments (2)

Until such a time that they collect all guns at home and stop selling guns to anyone, RSA remain in this tragedy and more tragedies. They need to fund total disarmament of the nation and collect all the guns the people have. Shooting at somebody with a gun in SA sounds like a hobby! They must respect life.

Rwatida Makuwe - 28 October 2014

Gone with the wind

protestor - 28 October 2014

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