South Africa football captain Senzo Meyiwa shot dead

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The captain of South Africa’s national football team was fatally shot on Sunday when armed men broke into his celebrity girlfriend’s house, police said.

Goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa was killed after two gunmen entered the house in Vosloorus township, near Johannesburg, while an accomplice waited outside, the national police force said on its Twitter account.

The three assailants then fled on foot, according to the police service, who have offered a reward of nearly 153,000 Rands for information leading to arrests.

Police said there were seven people in the house during the attack, and that the shooting followed an altercation.

The footballer may have been trying to defend his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, a South African singer and celebrity, when he was shot, reports said. He was declared dead on arrival at hospital.

Police said they would do everything possible to find the killers. They added they were breaking protocol to announce his death so soon after the shooting.

The 27 year-old played for Orlando Pirates and had played in South Africa’s last four Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. On Saturday before the shooting Meyiwa was in action for his club, as they progressed to the semi-finals of the South African League Cup.

His death is the second to hit the nation’s sports world in three days, as former 800m world champion runner Mbulaeni Mulaudzi was killed in a car crash on Friday.

South Africa has a high rate of violent crime, but it is not immediately clear whether the house where Meyiwa was staying was targeted by thieves or gunmen with another motive.