The captain of South Africa’s national soccer team, Bafana Bafana, was fatally shot when armed men broke into the house where he was staying, police said.
Goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was killed around 8pm Sunday after two gunmen entered into his girlfriend’s house in Vosloorus township near Johannesburg while an accomplice waited outside, the national police force said on its Twitter account.
Meyiwa was reportedly dating a controversial South Africa musician and actress, Kelly Khumalo and reports are that he was shot dead in the woman’s bedroom. Further allegations are that the Bafana Bafana caption’s father had warned his son to stay away from Kelly Khumalo, but the footballer is said to have turned down the advice.
The three assailants who took part in shooting the soccer star fled on foot after committing the heinous crime, according to the police service, which offered a reward of nearly $14,000 for information leading to arrests in the case.
Police said there were seven people in the house during the attack, and that the shooting followed an “altercation”.
Authorities said they would do everything possible to find the killers.
Solomon Makgale, a South African police spokesman, declined to comment, referring Associated Press to updates on the police Twitter account.
Meyiwa’s South African soccer club Orlando Pirates said in a statement that it “has learned with sadness about the untimely death of our number one goalkeeper and current captain Senzo Meyiwa”.
“This is a sad loss whichever way you look at it to Senzo’s family, his extended family, Orlando Pirates and to the nation,” the Pirates chairman, Irvin Khoza, said.
Meyiwa, 27, was South Africa’s captain in its four qualifiers for the African Cup of Nations this year, including its last game, a 0-0 draw with Republic of Congo on 15 October. He played for Orlando Pirates on Saturday in a 4-1 win over Ajax Cape Town.
It was the second death to hit South African sports in three days, as former 800m world champion runner Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was killed in a car crash on Friday. At the time, the president, Jacob Zuma, said “the nation has lost a true hero.”
Early on Monday local time, the youth league of South Africa’s ruling party sent condolences to the families of Meyiwa and Mulaudzi, saying “their premature passing is indeed a great loss to the country and sporting nation”.
Meyiwa’s international team-mate Dean Furman, who plays for South Africa and Doncaster Rovers, tweeted: “Beyond devastated at the loss of our captain & friend Senzo Meyiwa. thoughts & prayers are with his family & friends at this terrible time.”
Darren Keet, a fellow South African goalkeeper who plays for Belgian club KV Kortrijk and the national side, offered his deepest condolences to Meyiwa’s family and friends. He wrote: “Deeply saddening to hear this news about our captain and friend”, adding that Meyiwa would be “missed, but never forgotten”. He said Meyiwa’s killing was sad for South Africa.
Senzo Meyiwa’s girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, a South African singer posted this picture with him on Sunday, hours before he was shot dead
Meyiwa shakes hands with Wayne Rooney as he swaps shirts with the Manchester United forward after a friendly in Durban in 2014
Kelly Khumalo arrives holding a baby at her home in the township of Vosloorus following the death of Meyiwa
Investigators interview locals in the township of Vosloorus, where South Africa captain Meyiwa was shot dead by intruders
Police investigators stand outside a house in Vosloorus following the death of the goalkeeper
Senzo Meyiwa (right, playing for South Africa) was shot dead on Sunday, police have confirmed
Meyiwa posed with his opposite number’s shirt after meeting ‘my hero Iker Casillas’ last year and said ‘sometimes dreams come true’
The goalkeeper last played for his club on the Saturday evening, the day before he was shot, and had recently captained his country
WATCH the game that made Senzo Meyiwa a star of African football as he saves two penalties against TP Mazembe