Former Kaizer Chiefs and Democratic Republic of Congo striker Emeka Mamale has been confirmed dead at the age of 42.
Mamale arrived in South Africa in 1996 with QwaQwa Stars where he emerged as one of the brightest talents in Africa before enjoying a stint with Chiefs that earned him a move to Belgian side Lokeren.
A dominant and robust striker in his day, he will be fondly remembered for representing the DRC at two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, while helping them secure a third-place finish in the 1998 edition in Burkina Faso.
Mamale was residing in his homeland at the time of his untimely departure as he passed away suddenly through an unknown illness, the Congolese Football Federation confirmed.
"At this painful circumstance, the boss of Congolese football offers his most sad condolences to the family of the deceased as well as to all the big family of Congolese football," the statement from president Constant Omari read.
The DRC legend was part of the FECOFA retraining and social reintegration of all former international footballers and was set to earn his coaching badges to kick off a career within the national team and development structures.
Ranked as one of KickOff.com's greatest-ever foreign PSL strikers, Mamale also enjoyed spells with TP Mazembe, DC Motema Pembe, Primero de Agosto, Pohang Steelers and Silver Stars in a nomadic club career that ended in 2011.