Johannesburg, Jan 22: Police say footballer Jeffrey Ntuka who played five times for South Africa was stabbed to death in a nightclub.
Former Chelsea defender Ntuka was killed in the early hours of Saturday.
Michael Hughes, a representative of Ntuka's agent, Stella Africa, told football website Kickoff.com the player was killed in the central South African town of Kroonstad.
The 26-year-old defender had been in the squad of local giants Kaizer Chiefs for two years but was without a club this season after his contract with Supersport United expired.
“I just spoke to his wife for a couple 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 a former regular SA Under-23 player.
He joined Chelsea in 2003 as a 18-year-old without featuring for the side, and in turn, loaned him out to Belgian side, Westerlo, until his contract expired in 2009.
He returned to South Africa to join Chiefs for two seasons, and last campaign played for United, both without commanding a regular spot in a career hampered by alleged alcohol abuse.
“Unfortunately, trouble seemed to follow Jeffrey around, and 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 SA footballers that are one of the causes of the national team's downslide in the last decade.
It also 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.