LIVE REACTION: Senzo Meyiwa's death
GALLERY: RIP SENZO MEYIWA
VIDEO: Senzo Meyiwa tribute
He soon converted to the goalkeeper position and went on to represent KwaZulu-Natal in the Transnet Under-14 and Coca-Cola Under-17 Inter-Provincial tournaments in 2000 as a 13-year-old. His performances caught the eye of Orlando Pirates scouts, who brought him to the club’s development programme.
After making impressive progress through the youth levels, Meyiwa made his official debut for Orlando Pirates in a 2-1 win over AmaZulu on November 8, 2006.
He was an important part of the Pirates squad that won a famous ‘Double Treble’ in 2010/11 and 2011/12, claiming two MTN8 titles, two Absa Premiership titles, the Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup.
In 2013 Meyiwa’s career took a dramatic upswing, as he reclaimed the number one position at Orlando Pirates and was the team’s best player on their epic run to the final of the CAF Champions League, with his heroic performance in the away leg of the second round tie against DR Congo’s TP Mazembe particularly memorable.
He also made his Bafana Bafana debut, coming on as a substitute for Wayne Sandilands at half-time of a 2-0 friendly win over Lesotho in Maseru on June 2, 2013.
In 2014 the goalkeeper continued his rise to prominence, helping Orlando Pirates win the 2014 Nedbank Cup before taking advantage of the injury-enforced absence of close friend and goalkeeping rival Itumeleng Khune to be Bafana Bafana’s first choice goalkeeper for their 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches in September and October.
Meyiwa was not only the first choice goalkeeper, but also handed the captain’s armband by new coach Ephraim ‘Shakes’ Mashaba. Inspired by the honour, the Pirates goalkeeper kept four successive clean sheets as South Africa claimed top spot on the standings after four matches and put themselves within touching distance of qualification for the 2015 AFCON.
Meyiwa’s last professional appearance was on Saturday, October 25 at Orlando Stadium as he helped the Buccaneers to a 4-1 victory over Ajax Cape Town in a Telkom Knockout quarter-final.
He was aged 27 years and 32 days upon his death on October 26 in Vosloorus.
Senzo Meyiwa factfile
Born: September 24, 1987
Place of birth: Umlazi, Durban
Former clubs: Orlando Pirates juniors and Yebo Yes United (Pirates reserve team)
Orlando Pirates debut: November 8, 2006, Orlando Pirates 2-1 AmaZulu
Orlando Pirates starts: 157
International honours: Former South Africa U-17, U-20 & U-23 international; 7 Bafana Bafana caps (6 starts, 1 sub)
Bafana Bafana debut: June 2, 2013, Lesotho 0 South Africa 2
Honours: 2010 & 2011 MTN8 winner; 2011 & 2012 Absa Premiership winner; 2011 & 2014 Nedbank Cup winner; 2013 CAF Champions League runner-up