Senzo Meyiwa: 'Shock and devastation' over shooting

Senzo Meyiwa of South Africa during the 2013 Orange African Cup of Nations in Durban, South Africa on 27 January 2013
Senzo Meyiwa has been described as a "hero" by those who knew him

South Africa midfielder Dean Furman has spoken of the "utter devastation" that has engulfed his team-mates following the death of captain Senzo Meyiwa.

Meyiwa, 27, was reportedly shot dead in what appeared to be a robbery at his girlfriend's house on Sunday.

Furman, who plays for Doncaster Rovers, told BBC Sport: "It's complete and utter shock and devastation.

"He has a young family so there's more to it than losing a footballer - someone's lost a dad."

Meyiwa, a goalkeeper, played for Orlando Pirates and featured in South Africa's last four Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

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South Africa's football coach Ephraim Mashaba paid a tearful tribute to captain Senzo Meyiwa

On Saturday, he was in action for his club, when they progressed to the semi-finals of the South African League Cup.

He was reportedly attacked after men entered his girlfriend's house in Vosloorus, south of Johannesburg and was pronounced dead upon arrival at hospital.

Former Chelsea, Rangers and Oldham player Furman, who has 18 caps for South Africa, described Meyiwa as a "lovely guy".

He added: "He was very respectful, very friendly and he was just the nicest guy you could wish to meet. He had a lot of great relationships within the team, kept everyone together and his performances were exemplary."

"We don't know what happened but whatever has it's a life taken away far too soon."

The world of sport pays tribute to Senzo Meyiwa
South Africa rugby union winger Bryan Habanatweeted: "No words can describe the tragic and untimely death of Senzo Meyiwa. A true South African hero taken way to soon! May his soul RIP."
Former Tottenham and Portsmouth midfielder and Ghana international Kevin-Prince Boateng tweeted: "TRAGEDY!!!! R.I.P. Senzo Meyiwa. My condolences to his family & friends."
South Africa fast bowler Vernon Philander tweeted: "My thoughts and prayers goes out the family of Senzo Meyiwa. May you find the comfort in the Lord during this difficult time. RIP."
South Africa batsman AB de Villiers: "I never had the opportunity to meet Senzo (Meyiwa) personally but from what I hear he was one hell of a nice guy, an incredible leader and an amazing athlete. It's a huge loss."
South Africa Test captain Hashim Amla: "We would like to offer our deepest condolences to his family, to his friends and those he was close to. He is certainly in our thoughts and we are really feeling his loss as well."

Furman, 26, added that he had last spoken to Meyiwa when they were on international duty earlier in October.

"I was with him three weeks ago and I've got a picture in my phone that keeps going through my head," he said. "We were in Congo for one of the recent qualifiers and the picture was when we were last together. It shows how happy he was and how well he was doing."

Former South Africa international defender Mark Fish, who also played for Orlando Pirates, told BBC Radio 5 Live: "He's been an absolute stalwart for Orlando Pirates. The news is very disappointing for Orlando Pirates and South Africa football fans but also devastating for his family.

"I'm sure he'll be remembered for the good things he did on the football field. He showed a lot of passion and commitment."

Fifa president Sepp Blatter also paid tribute to Meyiwa on Twitter.

"Thoughts with family, players and fans of Orlando Pirates and South Africa. A senseless, tragic loss. #RIPSenzoMeyiwa".

South Africa's domestic soccer league has postponed this weekend's derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaiser Chiefs as a mark of respect.

"That's the right thing to do," said Brand de Villiers, chief executive of the Professional Soccer League in South Africa.

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