The footballing community have paid tribute to Keryn Jordan, who died yesterday aged only 37 after a long battle with cancer.

Jordan played two internationals for South Africa, but is best known in this country for his exploits with firstly Waitakere United and then Auckland City. He is Auckland City's all-time top goalscorer, helping them to the titles in 2006, 2007 and 2009, and he was also the ASB Premiership's all-time leading scorer with 62 goals until he was surpassed by Waitakere United's Allan Pearce last season.

Jordan relocated to New Zealand in 2004 to play for the now-defunct New Zealand Knights but his contract offer fell through. He would have been good enough to play in the A-League but New Zealand's national league became the beneficiary of his talents and he quickly became one of the league's best players.

He was the league's golden boot winner in his first season with Waitakere United and then caused a stir the following season when he became the first player to switch to rivals Auckland City - something that was controversial at the time but is now commonplace.


He also helped Auckland City win O-League titles in 2006 and 2009, scoring hat-tricks in both finals against Tahiti's AS Pirae and Koloale of the Solomon Islands.

Jordan was first diagnosed with cancer at 25, something he managed carefully for some time, but it eventually took its toll. He returned to South Africa in January to be with his family following news his cancer had worsened.

"On behalf of the board, players, staff and supporters of Auckland City FC our deepest condolences go out to the Jordan family at this time," Auckland City chairman Ivan Vuksich said. "On the playing field Keryn was more than just a first class football player - he was a genuine entertainer who when in full flight brought pure joy to the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to see him play.

"Keryn was far more than just a football player to everyone at Auckland City FC. He was a unique individual that touched the hearts and lives of so many people at our club."

They were sentiments echoed by New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum.

"Keryn provided a massive contribution to local New Zealand Football," said van Hattum.

"He was a wonderful player for Waitakere United initially and then Auckland City. We were lucky to have a player of his calibre involved within our domestic competitions.

"Beyond his footballing abilities, Keryn was a good friend to many people within the football community. Our thoughts are with his family and friends in both New Zealand and South Africa at this time."

Jordan is survived by his former partner, Sherry, and his teenage son Liam.

A minute's silence will be observed this Saturday when Auckland City take on Canterbury United at Kiwitea Street in a pre-season friendly. NZF are also exploring ways with his family and former New Zealand club to honour Jordan appropriately.