Cape Town - 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 Mbalula used the opportunity to pay tribute to the late Senzo
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.