JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - South Africa's president on Monday led a shocked nation in voicing outrage at the murder of national football captain Senzo Meyiwa, after the talismanic goalkeeper was shot dead during a home robbery.
Police said the 27-year-old was killed late Sunday after burglars broke in to the house of pop-star girlfriend Kelly Khumalo, making off with a cell phone.
More than 17,000 people were killed in South Africa last year, but the slaying of a popular sporting hero has stunned even this crime-weary nation.
"Words cannot express the nation's shock at this loss," said President Jacob Zuma, amid a national outpouring of grief and anger.
Zuma said police must "leave no stone unturned in finding his killers" and bringing them to justice.
Fighting back a flood of tears, national football coach Shakes Mashaba described Meyiwa as a "very kind person" who was the first name on his teamsheet.
Team-mates at his local club Orlando Pirates were sobbing and crying uncontrollably during a Monday team meeting, according to club officials.
Police have offered an increased reward of 250,000 rand (S$29,000) for any information leading to his killer's arrest.
Tributes to Meyiwa flooded in from across the football world.
Spain's World Cup winning goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas posted on his Instagram account a picture of Meyiwa after the pair had swapped jerseys, saying "Very sad for the dramatic loss of friend RIP Senzo."
Fifa president Sepp Blatter described Meyiwa's killing as a "senseless, tragic loss".
Dennis Mumble, the chief executive officer of the South African Football Association, said "the country is crying."
This is just the latest tragedy to befall South Africa's sporting fraternity.
South Africa is still reeling from the death of former world 800-metre champion Mbulaeni Mulaudzi who died in a car crash on Friday and the jailing of fallen Paralympic hero Oscar Pistorius for the killing of his girlfriend last year.