By Pheliswa Mbanjwa

Distinguished Orlando Pirates midfielder and Bafana Bafana player John “Dunga” Moeti’s death has left many soccer fans reeling in shock.

A gentleman on and off the soccer field, Dunga passed away at his home surrounded by family members. Apparently he has been receiving specialist medical care for the past eight months, his family confirmed in a statement.

The statement added: “John suddenly took ill eight months ago and was receiving specialist medical care. He succumbed to his illness in the early hours this [Monday 06 February] morning at home, surrounded by his family and brethren in prayer.

We thank you sincerely for your prayers and steadfast support. The family wishes to be afforded privacy during this time of loss. Funeral details will be advised in due course.”

The 55-year old Dunga, made the team that put Orlando Pirates on the continental map by clinching the 1995 CAF Champions League title. He was also a team member of the Bafana Bafana team that lifted the 1996 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Soweto born star also played for SuperSport United. Moeti also earned 29 caps for the South African national side between 1995 and 1999.

 The South African Football Association(SAFA) in a statement mourned the former Pirates captain’s passing.

“The South African Football Association and I wish to convey our sincerest condolences and heartfelt sorrow to the family and friends of Dungi Moeti,”  SAFA President, Danny Jordan said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones and friends.”

South Africans have taken to social media to pay their respects with tributes pouring in from sport presenters and soccer fans.

Orlando Pirates spokesperson, Thandi Merafe told The Telegram that they were saddened by Dunga’s passing and that his former team: “ extends their heartfelt condolences to his family, Orlando Pirates fans and the football fraternity at large.

He was not only a Pirates player but a legend of South African football. Moeti was a part of the defence and attack. He was the kind of player who will attack and go back to defend. He was humble on and off the field, which is a demeanour that young players can reflect on”.

Merafe said Dunga was part of the players that introduced the blueprint of the current South African football.

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