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Jeffrey Ntuka: Former Chelsea Defender Dies Following Stabbing in South Africa

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Jeffrey Ntuka, a former Chelsea defender and most recently a member of SuperSport United, was stabbed to death in a nightclub in Kroonstad township South Africa, according to BBC.

A South African native, Ntuka captained the South Africa Under-23 team and also appeared in five games for the South African national team.

Ntuka played as a reserve for Chelsea 2003 for six months before being loaned out to K.V.C Westerlo where he earned 93 caps in parts of seven seasons. After returning to Chelsea for two months, Ntuka signed with Kaiser Chiefs FC of the Premier Soccer League before moving on to SuperSport United.

Ntuka battled some of his own personal demons during his time as a player including alcoholism, but representative Michael Hughes from Ntuka's agency Stella Africa said Ntuka worked hard to change his image.

Unfortunately, trouble seemed to follow Jeffrey around. He tried hard to surround himself with the right people and club-mates. But he struggled to really shake the image and stories that dogged his career.

Ntuka's contract with SuperSport United expired following the 2010-11 season and he was looking to catch on with another team prior to his untimely death. Ntuka was just 26 years old when the fatal stabbing occurred on Saturday morning, so he likely had plenty of good soccer left in him.

The unfortunate death certainly brings into question how safe players are off the pitch, especially when it comes to volatile situations such as those that can be found in a nightclub. It's a fact of life that athletes are often targeted, and that may have been the case with Ntuka.

While Ntuka wasn't employed by a team at the time of his death, players are probably best off surrounding themselves with teammates in those types of venues. There hasn't yet been any word on who Ntuka was with or how the situation escalated, but hopefully this prompts players to take precautions moving forward.



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