JOHANNESBURG. — Bafana Bafana captain Senzo Meyiwa was shot and killed by intruders at the house of his pop-star girlfriend on Sunday night in a murder that plunged the entire football family into mourning and forced the postponement of South Africa’s biggest football game.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, in a letter to SAFA president Danny Jordaan, expressed his “deepest sorrow and anguish” at the death of the Orlando Pirates ’keeper.
“On behalf of the international football community I would like to express my deepest sorrow and anguish at the senseless killing of South Africa and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa last night,” said Blatter.
“My heart goes out to his friends and family for the terrible loss of his young life.
“Senzo will be sadly missed by his teammates and fans of both Orlando Pirates and the South African national team, which he recently captained with great success in their latest qualifying matches.”
Meyiwa (27) had kept goal for South Africa in each of their last four CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, keeping clean sheets in all four, and on Saturday helped Orlando Pirates reach the semifinals of the South African League Cup.
He was shot at the house of his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, who is a South African singer, and died on arrival at hospital.
“Two guys entered the house and demanded cellphones, money and other valuables,” provincial Community Safety official Sizakele Nkosi-Malubane told reporters at the scene.
Police on Sunday said two men entered Khumalo’s house at about 8pm.
A third waited outside the house and all three fled immediately after the shooting.
National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says a special task force has been set up to catch the killers of Meyiwa.
Bafana Bafana coach Ephraim Mashaba comforted several of Meyiwa’s team mates who arrived at the hospital not long after the shooting.
“We can assure all South Africans that we will do all we can to bring Meyiwa’s killers (to) book,” the South African Police Service said on its Twitter account, offering a reward of R250 000.
“This is a sad loss which ever way you look at it — to Senzo’s family, his extended family, Orlando Pirates and to the nation,” Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza said in a statement.
South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma also released a statement expressing his shock and sadness following the passing of Meyiwa.
“We mourn the death of this young footballer and team leader whose life has been taken away at the prime of his career.
“The law enforcement authorities must leave no stone unturned in finding his killers and bring them to justice. Words cannot express the nation’s shock at this loss.
“We wish to extend, on behalf of government and all the people of South Africa, our words of condolence to his family and relatives, his friends and peers in the football game, his club Orlando Pirates and our national soccer team as well as the football fraternity as a whole.”
SAFA expressed shock and anger at the tragic and sudden passing on of Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates captain.
We are shocked and devastated by the tragic news of South Africa’s current number one goalkeeper and captain of Bafana Bafana. Here was a man who was an integral part of the revolution of our beloved national team under Shakes Mashaba.
“For him to leave like this is shocking. As an Association we expected so much from him, the nation had pinned their hopes on him following brilliant displays in the Bafana Bafana jersey, more so in the recent Afcon matches where kept a clean sheet in all four games.
We will surely miss him,” said SAFA president Jordaan.
“At this time our thoughts are with his family, his club Orlando Pirates, the football family in general. Shakes Mashaba was going to announce his squad to face Sudan and Nigeria on Thursday and I would like to believe Senzo’s name was going to be the first because he has been a pillar of Bafana Bafana in the recent matches, making incredible saves to keep the team in the match. May his soul rest in peace.”
Born on 24 September 1987, Senzo played seven times for Bafana Bafana captaining them four times.
He has conceded just one goal — scored by Australian Tim Cahill in a friendly match earlier this year (26 May 2014) in Australia.
Senzo also played in the Under-17,Under-20 and Under-23 national teams of South Africa.
“May his soul rest in peace,” concluded the statement.
The Soweto Derby has been postponed following the untimely death of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa.
PSL CEO Brand de Villiers confirmed yesterday morning at a press conference that was held at the Rand Stadium by Pirates.
The derby between Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs was going to take place on Saturday at the FNB Stadium.
“We’ve decided to postpone the match on Saturday, we will follow with more details later today or tomorrow. The match will not happen out of respect for Senzo. That’s the right thing to do,” said De Villiers.
Pirates and PSL chairman had earlier said the club wrote a letter to the PSL requesting the match to be moved in honour of Meyiwa.
“”We wrote a letter to the PSL and SAFA this morning, with a plea to request postponement of the match with Kaizer Chiefs. We feel that as administrators of football it would be insensitive of us to continue with this game. We are awaiting a response and hope that our plea to the PSL will meet a favourable response,” Khoza said.
“I spoke to my colleague Mr Kaizer Motaung this morning before sending this letter. He concurred with me.”
The 27-year-old died in hospital from a gun wound after being shot in Vosloorus late on Sunday.
Meanwhile, messages of condolence continued to flood in yesterday following the killing of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana captain Meyiwa.
Springbok captain Jean de Villiers also paid his respects to Meyiwa.
“Senzo’s death is very tragic and unnecessary,” said De Villiers.
“He was one of those sportsmen who came through the ranks and worked very hard to get to the top. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and team-mates on this very sad day for South African sport.”
International sport stars also took to Twitter as they paid their respect to Meyiwa.
Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper, Iker Casillas, also mourned the loss of Meyiwa.
Casillas, who was Meyiwa’s role model, posted a picture of the Bafana goalkeeper with a swapped shirt of himself on his Instagram account, accompanied by the following message:
“Very saddened by the tragic loss of a fellow DEP (RIP) Senzo.”
Casillas and Meyiwa had swapped shirts when La Roja, the then World Cup champions, played South Africa in 2013.
Other international stars have also been sending their tributes for Meyiwa and we will continue to add their condolences into this article.
Kevin-Prince Boateng tweeted: “TRAGEDY!!!!R.I.P. Senzo Meyiwa. My condolences to his family&friends. #crazyworld #cantbelieveit”
England legend, Gary Lineker, just responded with a shocked “No!!” when one of his Twitter friends posted a link to the article about Meyiwa’s death.