By Ray Bande
THE Footballers Union of Zimbabwe have bemoaned increasing cases of players dying during training sessions in the country.
This follows the death of Simbarashe ‘Smallie’ Nyauzima, who died during Buffaloes pre-season training camp at Mutare Showgrounds.
The former Black Rhinos left-back, who was now turning out for ZIFA Eastern Region Division One outfit Buffaloes, died after completing 14 rounds of warm-up at Mutare Showgrounds on Monday afternoon.
He will be laid to rest at Glen Forest Cemetery in Harare today at 11am.
In 2010, coach Lovemore “Mukadota” Nyabeza died while conducting a training session.
Only last year, ZIFA Northern Division One side ZRP Morris defender Nyasha Chakanyuka collapsed and died during the team’s morning training session at Morris Depot. Chakanyuka’s tragedy struck 11 months after another player, Eliah Munyaradzi, also collapsed and died during a Division Three league match in May last year. FUZ president Desmond Maringwa bemoaned the continued loss of lives at football training sessions.
Maringwa queried the reason ZIFA were reluctant to implement FIFA’s requirement that medical facilities should be available at training sessions.
“It is sad that we continue to lose precious lives because some people are sleeping on duty. I think this is the sixth or seventh time that this has happened,” said Maringwa. “It is known that there should be proper medical equipment on site at training venues as well as at match venues.
“The likes of Fabrice Muamba, even though he stopped breathing for some time, came back to life because of urgent proper medical care on site.
“FIFA have demanded that there should be defibrillators on site but somehow this is not being implemented.
“A Football Association can get many of those and distribute to its affiliates so that we save lives. It is perplexing to note that somehow that is not being done.”
Maringwa questioned whether local clubs were having regular medical check-ups.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from ZIFA vice-president Omega Sibanda were fruitless yesterday.