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21 Jan 2012 14:08
Bafana Bafana-capped defender Jeffrey Ntuka is dead after reportedly being stabbed in the early hours of Saturday morning in a local nightclub in his township of Kroonstad in the Free State.
Soccer website, Kickoff.com, says that the troubled former Kaizer Chiefs and SuperSport United player—who is a product of English giants, Chelsea—may have been stabbed after a brawl.
There was confirmation from his soccer representatives, Stella Africa.
“I just spoke to his wife for a couple [of] minutes and she confirmed that Ntuka has passed away after being stabbed in a township in Kroonstad,” Stella Africa’s Michael Hughes told the website.
Ntuka and wife are said to have been estranged.
Ntuka (26) has five Bafana caps and is a former regular SA Under-23 player.
He joined Chelsea in 2003 as an 18-year-old without featuring for the side, and was loaned out to Belgian side, Westerlo, until his contract expired in 2009.
Trouble and struggles
He returned to South Africa to join Chiefs for two seasons, despite a career hampered by alleged alcohol abuse.
“Unfortunately, trouble seemed to follow Jeffrey around, and [he] tried hard to surround himself with the right people and club mates,” Hughes said later on Saturday when contacted.
“He struggled to really shake the image and stories that seem to dog his career. When his contract expired with United, he had an unsuccessful trial with a second division Belgian side, but we have been motivating him, and he has been keeping fit.”
Ntuka is part of a troubled generation of South African footballers that are one of the causes of the national team’s downslide in the last decade.
This includes the likes of Mbulelo Mabizela, Jabu Pule, Junior Khanye and Emmanuel “Scara” Ngobese, who seemingly never fulfilled their talent while struggling with discipline, alcohol and materialistic life.
Ngobese died last year after battling a second bout of TB.—Sapa
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