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South African national team captain shot dead

October 27, 2014

Senzo Meyiwa, goalkeeper and captain of the South African national football team has been shot dead by armed assailants. The death is the second of a prominent South African sportsman this weekend.

Senzo Meyiwa
Image: Getty Images/Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

South African national football team captain and goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was shot and killed Sunday near Johannesburg after gunmen broke into the house where he was staying, police said.

Meyiwa, who played for the South African football club Orlando Pirates, was gunned down at a house in Vosloorus, a town about 30 kilometers south of Johannesburg. Two men reportedly entered the house and shot Meyiwa while a third stood watch outside.

"We can confirm that Bucs (Pirates) goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa has been shot and sadly declared dead on arrival at the hospital," the South African Police Service (SAPS) said.

It is not yet clear why Meyiwa was at the house, or why the residence was targeted by the gunmen. An unconfirmed report said that Meyiwa was there visiting a friend when a man entered, demanded a cell phone, and then began shooting.

"We can assure all South Africans that we will do all we can to bring Meyiwa's killers to book," police said. Authorities have offered a nearly $14,000 reward for information leading to arrests in the case.

Meyiwa had been enjoying a great run of form with the national team, and his club, Orlando Pirates, is one of the most popular and successful in South Africa. "This is a sad loss to Senzo's family especially his children, to Orlando Pirates and the nation," Pirates chairman Irvin Khoza tweeted.

South African national teammates also took to social media to express their grief and offer condolences.

"Beyond devastated at the loss of our captain and friend Senzo Meyiwa. Thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this terrible time," teammate Dean Furman, who plays in England, tweeted.

Meyiwa's death is the second of a prominent South African athlete this weekend. On Friday, former 800 meters world champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was killed in a car accident.

Gun crime and murder continue to plague South Africa. According to police figures, more than 17,000 people were murdered in the country between April 2013 and March 2014.

bw/jm (Reuters, AP, AFP)