The black weekend in SA sport

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MORGAN PIEK

It’s been a sad week for South African sport, with numerous deaths rocking the sporting fraternity over the last week.

South Africans were rocked late Sunday night and Monday morning with the terribly sad news that South African national football captain and goalkeeper, Senzo Meyiwa, was murdered on Sunday evening, barely 24 hours after leading Orlando Pirates to a comprehensive 4-1 drubbing over Ajax Cape Town in the Telkom Knockout tournament.

The tragic incident happened around 20:00 on Sunday evening when he tried to protect his girlfriend from two robbers who had entered her house in Vosloorus, outside of Johannesburg, while a third waited outside.

All three suspects fled from the scene on foot.

Senzo Robert Meyiwa was born on 24 September 1987 in Umlazi, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

The star goalkeeper started his youth career at London Cosmos, before joining the Orlando Pirates youth team in from 2002 to 2005. From 2005 to 2014, Meyiwa represented the senior Buccaneers team more than three times.

Bloemfontein Celtic defender, Ruben Cloete, who won the treble twice with Meyima at Pirates, told Courant that he passing is not just a big loss for local football, but for global football.

“I played with him for two years. In fact, when we won the two trebles (at Pirates), we won it together. He was never angry and was always at training. He made everybody laugh by always joking around, he was very vibrant and full of life,” Cloete said, speaking fondly of his former teammate.

“He was a fantastic guy….and I’m not saying that only because he is no more, but you can speak to anyone who knew him, that’s just the person he was,” Cloete added.

The player’s consistent performances were rewarded with the highest honours when he made his Bafana Bafana debut last year during their 2-0 win over Lesotho in Maseru under then coach Gordon Igesund.

Current team mentor, Shakes Mashaba, made him the national captain ahead of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, where in four games the team was undefeated. An emotional Mashba said he was a shining example for the rest of his teammates.

“We’re going to miss Senzo a lot. Senzo is a team player. Senzo is everything. We can only hope where he has gone now he does the same…and I’ve got no doubt he is going to do that,” Mashaba said about his fallen captain.

“To those who remain behind, hope and trust that you’ve copied from Senzo Meyiwa,” Mashaba added.

In his seven games for South Africa, Meyiwa conceded just one goal, which was scored by Tim Cahill for Australia earlier this year.

Last week Thursday, former Springbok captain and hooker, Abie Malan, passed away in Upington at the age of 78 following complications from knee replacement surgery. He was one month short of his 79th birthday.

Former 800m Olympic silver medalist, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, was killed in a car crash last Friday. Mulaudzi won the silver at the 2004 Athens Games and claimed the gold at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. He was the flag bearer for South Africa at the opening ceremony of the Summer Games in Athens and he became South Africa’s first black athlete to be ranked number one in the world.

The past weekend also saw the passing of professional female boxer, Phindile "Zulu Girl" Mwelase, who died after being in a coma for two weeks. The 31-yeaar-old boxer passed at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria on Saturday. The light welterweight boxer slipped into a coma after being knocked out in fight against Liz Butler in Pretoria on October 10.

To our fallen heroes, you will forever remain heroes in our hearts and may you Rest in Peace.