Orlando Pirates-Kaiser Chiefs derby off following Senzo Meyiwa death

The South African Premier Soccer League has postponed this weekend's derby between Orlando Pirates and Kaiser Chiefs following the death of Pirates goalkeeper and South Africa captain Senzo Meyiwa.

The 27-year-old was fatally shot at his girlfriend's house during an attempted robbery Sunday night as he tried to apprehend the intruders, police and an eyewitness said.

Meyiwa was killed around 8 p.m. after two gunmen entered a house in Vosloorus township near Johannesburg while an accomplice of theirs waited outside. Meyiwa was shot in the upper body, police spokesman Brig. Neville Malila said Monday.

Tumelo Waka Madlala, a friend of Meyiwa's who said he was at the house during the attempted robbery, said the goalkeeper was shot while trying to stop the intruders, who had demanded cellphones and money from people inside the home.

Following a request from both clubs, the derby match scheduled for Saturday has been postponed, with league chief Brand de Viliers confirming on Monday: "Out of respect for Senzo, the derby match will not take place this weekend. We will communicate the logistics in due time."

The club's chairman Dr Irvin Khoza said: "This is a sad loss to Senzo's family especially his children, to Orlando Pirates and the nation."

Meyiwa played for the Pirates in a 4-1 win over Ajax Cape Town on Saturday, and captained the national team in four African Nations Cup qualifiers this year.

South Africa's minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula has urged anyone with any relevant information to come forward to police following Meyiwa's death.

South African police announced late Sunday on their Twitter account that Meyiwa had been shot and killed, adding it was breaking protocol to announce his death soon after the shooting.

Police also called for calm, saying "upset" people had gathered at the house and at the hospital where Meyiwa was confirmed dead.

Police said he was shot after an "altercation" with the suspects and were treating the incident as an attempted robbery and had opened a murder case.

"As they were running away we tried to stop them and that is when they shot him at point blank range,'' Meyiwa's friend Madlala told The Associated Press.

The house belonged to Meyiwa's girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, a South African singer and celebrity, witnesses said. There were seven people in the house before the intruders entered, according to police. No one else was hurt.

Mbalula said he was "deeply shocked" and that it was a "sad day" for South Africa, before posting a fuller statement on Twitter in which he called for the "thugs" responsible to be brought to book.

"The minister of sports and recreation, Minister Fikile Mbalula, has sadly learnt of the untimely passing of Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, who died through gunshot wounds at the hands of criminals yesterday at 8 p.m. in Vosloorus at the house of his companion," a statement read.

"We have already interacted with the president of SAFA, Dr Danny Jordaan, Dr Irvin Khoza at Orlando Pirates as well as the father of Senzo Meyiwa.

"We humbly encourage all individuals who have any information on on the whereabouts of these thugs to co-operate fully with the police on the urgent apprehension of these shameless individuals.

"We would like to convey our heartfelt condolences to Senzo Meyiwa's family, his club, Orlando Pirates, the nation and the entire football and sporting fraternity."

Mbalula added: "The death of Senzo Meyiwa has robbed this country of an icon and a legend in the making."

The national police force said a reward of 150,000 rand -- around 8,500 pounds -- had been offered for any information leading to an arrest.

Dr Khoza addressed the media at a news conference on Monday morning, saying: "Senzo has been here since he was 13 years old. And he has written his legacy in this club. He put us on the map around the world."

National team coach Shakes Mashaba said: "A good guy like Senzo will never just vanish. His spirit will live forever."

South African Football Association CEO Dennis Mumble said on Monday: "It's safe to say that the country was crying after we heard this news. Whoever you spoke to, the nation is mourning. It's a very sad time for us, a difficult time. We need to mourn him, but also celebrate what he stood for."

The sporting world has reacted with shock to Meyiwa's passing, with teammates including Dean Furman and a number of high-profile sports stars paying tribute to the goalkeeper.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.