Senzo Meyiwa: Player Profile

A Rare Talent Who Came Through The National Teams Ranks

Personal information 
Full name: Senzo Robert Meyiwa
Date of birth: 24 September 1987
Place of birth: Durban, South Africa
Aged: 27
Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
Position: Goalkeeper

Youth Career London Cosmos (South Africa) 
2002–2005: Orlando Pirates

Senior Career
2005–2014: Orlando Pirates over 150 Appearances, 0 goals

National Team 
2013–2014 South Africa 7 Appearances, 0 goals

At the time of his death, Orlando Pirates and Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was well on his way to achieving greatness. Senzo Meyiwa, who was tragically shot dead on Sunday evening, began his football career as a striker for hometown club London Cosmos in Umlazi, Durban in the 1990s. He soon converted to the goalkeeper position and went on to represent KwaZulu-Natal in the Transnet Under-14 and Coca-Cola Under-17 Inter-Provincial tournaments in 2000 as a 13-year-old. His performances caught the eye of Orlando Pirates scouts, who brought him to the club’s development programme.

Born in Umlazi, Durban 27 years ago, he began his career with London Cosmos before joining Pirates’ juniors. From there on his career progressed as he went on to play for the national Under-17s and Under-20s. And while it was his good friend at Kaizer Chiefs, Itumeleng Khune, who first made a name for himself in the PSL, it was Meyiwa who was the first-choice for the national Under-23s. After making impressive progress through the youth levels, Meyiwa made his official debut for Orlando Pirates in a 2-1 win over AmaZulu on November 8, 2006. At club level his career was not picking up as fast as he would have hoped. Despite making 25 appearances during the 2007/08 season, Meyiwa was back to being an understudy during the 2008/09 campaign as Moneeb Josephs arrived from Bidvest Wits. He was an important part of the Pirates squad that won a famous ‘Double Treble’ in 2010/11 and 2011/12, claiming two MTN8 titles, two Absa Premiership titles, the Telkom Knockout and Nedbank Cup. However, Josephs kept the number one jersey, but when he suffered a long injury lay-off during the 2012/13 season, then Pirates coach Roger de Sa gave Meyiwa a chance – and stuck with him even when Josephs was available again. The move paid dividends as Meyiwa’s performance in 2012 helped Pirates reach the CAF Champions League Final, with his most memorable performance coming against TP Mazembe in the semi-finals, where he overcame a hostile crowd and terrible refereeing. He also made his Bafana Bafana debut, coming on as a substitute for Wayne Sandilands at half-time of a 2-0 friendly win over Lesotho in Maseru on June 2, 2013.

Meyiwa picked up from where he left off in 2013/14, going on to play a record 51 matches and continued his rise to prominence, helping Orlando Pirates win the 2014 Nedbank Cup. So when Shakes Mashaba took over as the Bafana Bafana coach, he put faith in the Pirates man following first-choice Khune’s injury, even giving him the captain’s armband. Meyiwa did not disappoint. He played in all the 2015 African Nations Cup qualifiers – against Sudan, Nigeria and twice against Congo; keeping a clean-sheet in all four matches as South Africa claimed top spot on the standings after four matches and put themselves within touching distance of qualification for the 2015 AFCON. Meyiwa’s last professional appearance was on Saturday, October 25 at Orlando Stadium as he helped the Buccaneers to a 4-1 victory over Ajax Cape Town in a Telkom Knockout quarter-final. As a mark of respect, the Soweto derby match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates due to be played on 1 November 2014 was postponed. He was aged 27 years and 32 days upon his death on October 26 in Vosloorus. 

Meyiwa’s career honours: Full Bafana Bafana international (7 caps), Under-23, Under-20, Under-17 international; 2011, 2012 PSL winner; 2011, 2014 Nedbank Cup winner; 2011 Telkom Knockout winner; 2010, 2011 MTN 8 winner