Senzo Meyiwa Biography|Date Of Birth, Career, Controversies, Death
Senzo Robert Meyiwa was a South African footballer, renowned for his role as a goalkeeper and captain for Orlando Pirates in the Premier Soccer League, as well as the South Africa national team.
Date Of Birth
Meyiwa was born on 24 January 1984.
Meyiwa served as a goalkeeper for Orlando Pirates from 2005 to 2014. He initially started as a reserve goalkeeper behind Francis Chansa until 2008.
In 2006, Meyiwa made his debut in a league match against AmaZulu, which Pirates won 2-1. However, in 2008, when he was about to showcase his talent after Chansa’s departure, Pirates brought in Moeneeb Josephs from Wits University, and Meyiwa once again became a bench goalkeeper.
In the 2012 season, Meyiwa was given some playing time by interim coach Augusto Palacios and later by the new coach Roger De Sa due to Josephs’ shoulder injury.
Meyiwa’s talent was recognized, and he was selected for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations by the Bafana Bafana coach Gordon Igesund. Josephs left Pirates in 2013, and the team brought in Fatau Dauda as the first-choice goalkeeper, but Meyiwa continued to play.
Meyiwa gained recognition for his penalty-saving skills in the 2013 Champions League, where he saved penalties against TP Mazembe and Al Ahly. He was supported by Brighton Mhlongo until his final game against Ajax Cape Town F.C. in the 2014 Telkom Knockout Quarter-final, where Pirates won 4-1.
Meyiwa was made captain of Orlando Pirates in his last four games before his death, and he was also made captain of Bafana Bafana in his last four games of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification.
Meyiwa made his debut for the South African national team on 2 June 2013 in a 2-0 victory against Lesotho. He came on as a substitute for the entire second half, replacing Wayne Sandilands. Meyiwa was selected for the South African squad for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations but did not make any appearances in the tournament.
In the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification, he played four matches, with his final game being a 0-0 draw against Congo on 15 October 2014. Meyiwa was given the captain’s armband in all four of his last games during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualification.
He joined Brian Baloyi and Moeneeb Josephs as the only goalkeepers to captain Bafana Bafana in four occasions each without conceding a goal. They achieved two draws and two wins each. Meyiwa earned a total of seven international caps, keeping six clean sheets.
On 26 October 2014, Meyiwa tragically lost his life in a robbery at his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo’s house in Vosloorus. He was shot and pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital in Johannesburg.
The shooting involved three suspects, and the police released composite images of two of them. One suspect, Zamokuhle Mbatha, was arrested but later released due to lack of evidence.
Meyiwa’s death sparked outrage and highlighted the high crime and murder rates in the country.
In honor of Meyiwa, the Soweto derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, scheduled for 1 November 2014, was postponed. President Jacob Zuma expressed his condolences and called for the apprehension of Meyiwa’s killers. Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter described Meyiwa’s death as a senseless and tragic loss.
Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas shared a photo on Instagram of Meyiwa holding his Real Madrid jersey, which was exchanged during a match between Spain and South Africa.
Meyiwa was given a state funeral at Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on 1 November. The funeral was attended by his fans, friends, football club colleagues, football officials, and political dignitaries, including prominent figures in South African soccer.
Meyiwa was laid to rest in Chesterville, KwaZulu-Natal. During the funeral, a photo of his father, Samuel, greeting the crowd by leaning out of his car window with his arms outstretched became an internet trend.
In October 2020, five men were charged with Meyiwa’s murder. The suspects denied their involvement in the killing.
In November 2014, it came to light that Meyiwa had been dishonest about his true age throughout his professional career.
Contrary to his claim of being born on 24 September 1987, his tombstone and the school register indicated that he was actually born on 24 January 1984.
This revelation meant that he was 30 years old at the time of his death, rather than 27 as previously believed.