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By Eddie Chikamhi
DYNAMOS say local football has been robbed of an excellent administrator in the wake of the death of former Highlanders chairman, Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda.
Sibanda will be buried today at Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo.
He was 63.
DeMbare secretary-general, Webster Marechera, yesterday said they were shocked by the tragedy. “We are saddened by the passing on of Sibanda. He was a top-notch athlete, during his playing days, and he graduated into one of the top football administrators in Zimbabwe.
“His leadership qualities were there for everyone to see.
“He achieved a lot, as team manager, and also as chairman of Highlanders. The history of Highlanders will not be complete without mentioning Sibanda.
“As they say ‘iron sharpens iron’, we also learnt from one another and we will forever cherish the moments that we shared on the football pitch,” said Marechera.
The Footballers Union of Zimbabwe said his legacy will live long.
“It is with a heavy heart that we have learnt of the passing of Highlanders FC legend, Ernest ‘Maphepha’ Sibanda,” FUZ said in a statement.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sibanda family, friends and the football family during this difficult time.
“We will never forget your role in Zimbabwean football.” Former Warriors team manager, Sharif Mussa, believes the late Sibanda was their guiding light, during their days with the Warriors.
Mussa was the assistant team manager when the Warriors qualified for the 2006 AFCON finals.
“I am deeply shocked, and saddened, by the death of a friend, colleague, mentor and brother Ernest Sibanda on August 10, 2021,” Mussa said. “My heartfelt condolences go to his family, to the Highlanders family and the Zimbabwe football family at large.
“I must say, that of all the people I worked with, during my long association with local football and our beloved Warriors, Maphepha is the man I was closest to.
“We enjoyed a great working relationship and I would always call on his experience, and wise counsel, in dealing with football matters.
“Maphepha was a humble man yet a larger-than-life character.
“Having played for both Highlanders and CAPS United, I believe it made Maphepha easily fit into any divide of the game.
“It was in the Warriors where we struck a great understanding, working closely as manager and assistant manager, as our national team qualified for the 2006 Africa Cup Nations in Egypt.”
When Sibanda left, he passed on the baton stick to Mussa who has since been recruited by CAF as general coordinator for continental football events.
He said he had remained close friends with his predecessor, Sibanda, despite both having left the Warriors set up.
“We worked closely with coach Charles Mhlauri and his assistants David Mandigora and Willard Khumalo (may their souls continue to rest in peace).
“In all his assignments, Ernest was a cheerful football technocrat, who was also a great motivator. “He will be sorely missed by the family of football in Zimbabwe and we will always cherish the legacy he has left.”
National Organising secretary of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association, Chris “Romario” Musekiwa, said it was sad tragedy has struck the Bosso family at the same time the nation was still mourning the death of CAPS United legend, Joe “Kode” Mugabe.