Mbalula pays tribute to fallen Meyiwa

By Drum Digital
27 October 2014

In what was supposed to be a welcome home ceremony for South Africa's senior national women's team from Namibia on Monday, Sports Minister Fikile Mbulala used the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Senzo Meyiwa.

The 27-year-old Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper and captain was shot dead on Sunday night in an alleged robbery in Vosloorus.

“He was not tall but between the posts, he was the tallest," Mbalula said at the SA Football Association's headquarters in Johannesburg.

“South African soccer is poorer without Senzo, there is no grave big enough to bury this African giant. Yet another hero was taken from us, the devil dug deep into our pockets and took Senzo."

Meyiwa was shot in the upper body, reportedly while protecting his girlfriend, actress and singer Kelly Khumalo.

“Those criminals who committed this deed must not be proud of what they did, the nation will find them," Mbalula said.

Meanwhile, Safa president Danny Jordaan expressed his anger at the tragic killing.

“The loss of Senzo calls on all of us, that we can no longer be silent as the youth are mowed down in front of us," Jordaan said.

“As the South African football family, we will miss Senzo as a person, as leader of the revival of the Bafana team.

“We could not have asked for a better example and a better leader to show what it requires to excel at international level. We are very angry and gutted at this society."

Banyana Banyana returned to the country earlier in the day, after finishing fourth at the African Women's Championships in Windhoek over the weekend.

The women's side failed to finish in the top three and, as a result, have not qualified for the 2015 Fifa Women's World Cup in Canada.

In the group stages, Banyana stumbled to a 1-0 defeat against Cameroon in their opener, before they were held to a 1-1 draw by Ghana.

They needed to beat Algeria in their final group B fixture to stand any chance of progressing to the knockout stage. They did so in style as goals from Amanda Dlamini, Portia Modise (two), Sana Mollo and Mamello Makhabane guided the team to a 5-1 thrashing of Algeria.

Eventual champions, Nigeria, beat Vera Pauw's troops 2-1 in the semi-final, forcing Banyana into a third/fourth playoff with the Ivory Coast. Banyana had to win to become the third and final team to qualify for the World Cup, but a late strike from Ida Guehai shattered the dream and ended all hopes of a place at next year's showpiece event.

-SAPA

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