Senzo was a concrete rose gone too soon - Mbalula

By Drum Digital
27 October 2014

"Senzo didn't just touch Orlando Pirates, he touched all football players of the national team and was a great leader and ambassador for South African football."

We’ll never allow our fate to be determined by and made short-lived by criminals and the criminals who have taken Senzo Meyiwa's life will be found and brought to book - these were the strong sentiments expressed by sports minister, Fikile Mbalula.

Speaking at the Rand Stadium in Turffontein following the news of Orlando Pirates and Bafana player, Senzo Meyiwa's death, Mbalula lamented the untimeley end to what he and many South Africans considered a blossoming career for the 27 year-old goalkeeper and national captain.

"Senzo grabbed the opportunity to become a star with both hands.  He’s a loss to South Africa and to young people who looked up to him.  He never got anything on a silver platter, he fought all the way for his position and to maintain it. He worked his way up the Pirates ranks and is a true story of triumph over adversity. His poor circumstances never defined who he was, he fought out of that to become who he was – a hero."

Mbalula also spoke of the last time he saw Senzo, at the Orlando Pirates and Ajax Cape Town match this past weekend, where Pirates was victorious: "I saw a young man who had come of age, he was happy, jubilant and quite assertive.  From the Senzo who was shy, afraid to speak even a word of English, he had become a brave young man who was confident in himself."

He had choice words for the criminals who had taken the soccer star's life as well, saying, "We must double our efforts to fight crime and bring criminals to book. He was a star that illuminated South Africa and criminals robbed us of its brightness. It was like the rose that grew from concrete and was gone before its time."

Orlando Pirates spokesperson, Mickey Modisane says he will miss Senzo Meyiwa's smile and charisma most. "He was a great dancer and his smile was filled with pride. I will epsecially remember his energy this weekend after we beat Ajax Cape Town, qualified for the Telkom Knockout and managed to beat our former coach Roger DeSa," he smiles.

"He danced, wet as he was from that shower of rain, and was so happy. I will always remember that - his dancing and his beautiful smile. Senzo didn't just touch Orlando Pirates, he touched all football players of the national team and was a great leader and ambassador for South African football," he recalls.

Final arrangements for the player's funeral, which is set for this weekend, will be announced to the public tomorrow. Modisane says it's important to the team and Senzo's family and friends that he be remembered with respect: "We’re working closely with the family, providing all the support they need and we want to make sure that he’s laid to rest in a very dignified and befitting manner."

On his Orlando Pirates teammates who were quite visibly distraught following the loss of their friend and colleague, Modisane says they are doing all they can to help them get through their grief. "We’re doing our best to ensure that the players recover quickly, psychologically from this tragic loss," he says.

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