By Lebogang Seale
The family of former Banyana Banyana player Eudy Simelane has been shocked by her "gruesome, barbaric and senseless" murder.
Her half-naked body was found in an open field next to the Kwa-Thema hostel on the East Rand on Monday morning.
According to police spokesperson Captain Johannes Ramphora, the former midfielder was raped before she was stabbed to death.
Police subsequently arrested five men in connection with her rape and murder. A knife, believed to have been the murder weapon, was found in the possession of the suspects.
On Wednesday, Simelane's brothers, Kervin and Bafana, said the family were devastated.
"Eudy was a very kind and humble person who would not hurt anyone. For someone to kill her like that is hard to understand. Why did they have to kill her?" he said.
Kervin also described his sister, who he said studied at a local Further Education and Training (FET) college and was on the verge of being promoted as a referee in the second division, as being passionate about football.
"She started playing soccer in kindergarten. Then she would have running battles with my parents, who reprimanded her as a good-for-nothing child who flirted with boys by playing their game.
"But with time my mother and father began to accept and support her in playing football," he said.
He also recalled how his sister, who was waiting to hear if she had secured a post at a pharmacy, used to bring Banyana T-shirts and other outfits to her family and friends in the township.
"Once her mother was clad in the T-shirt, she would tease her, saying that if it was not because of her patriarchal beliefs, she would have become a great midfielder because she (Eudy) had taken after her."
But even more devastated by Eudy's death was her elder brother, Bafana, who said: "How can they kill my sister like that? If they wanted to rape or rob her, why didn't they just do that and spare her life?"
A memorial service was due to be held this morning at the Kwa-Thema Methodist Church.
The suspects are expected to appear in the Springs Regional Court on Monday.
"We are shocked by her gruesome murder," she said.