By Grace Chingoma
Former Mighty Warriors coach, Vernon Bowers, who died this week, has been described as a hero and a pioneer of women’s football.
ZIFA led the way and paid tribute to the former gaffer who had several stints with the national team from the ’90s.
His last coaching stint with the Mighty Warriors was in 2005.
“Our sincere condolences to the Bowers family, following the passing of Vernon Bowers,” ZIFA said in a statement.
“He was one of the pioneer women’s football coaches and was in charge of the senior team in the 90s.
“Women’s football today is testimony of his everlasting legacy.”
Former Zimbabwe Women’s Soccer League chairperson, Susan Chibizhe, said Bowers played a big role during the early years.
“He was our hero. He sacrificed a lot for women football. At one time he had a shop downtown and would avail that space, and resources, for our women’s football meetings.
“When I joined women’s soccer in 1997, he was already involved with the national team and would encourage us, as administrators, to take up some courses that were on offer as the game developed.
“He would use his teaching experience assisting us, when we were doing project proposals to FIFA to get women’s football funds.
“He was not selfish and was so patient with enthusiasm to help more people who were coming on board women’s football leadership.
“Our football has one weakness, they want to recognise a person when he is no longer around.
“It is a sad loss. You fought a good fight Bowers. May your soul rest in peace. It is unfortunate due to lockdown we cannot give him a befitting send-off he deserved,” said Chibizhe.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean businessman Thulani Mazengwe, who was based in South Africa and used to sponsor inter-school sports tournaments in Mashonaland West province for schools in Kadoma and Zvimba, has died.
He passed away at Unitas Netcare hospital in Centurion yesterday.
He was 50. Mazengwe bankrolled athletics, netball and football tournaments each term for inter schools at Primary and Secondary Schools levels.
Yesterday, National Athletics Association of Zimbabwe first vice president Aeneas Nhoro, who was also the first chairperson of the Mazengwe Schools tournament, described the late businessman as a visionary leader.
“We are very sorry for the loss of Thulani Mazengwe. He had done a lot for the development of athletics and football in Kadoma from 2006 to 2010.
“He then moved to Zvimba district with the same programme.
“What becomes very unique about him is that he was a visionary sponsor who knew development of sport was in the grassroots.
“We have lost a visionary man who chose to work in the disadvantaged communities empowering athletes.”
Mazengwe will be buried in South Africa.