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Zimbabwe Mourns Death of Soccer Legend Willard Khumalo

  • Gibbs Dube

The late Willard Mashinkila Khumalo with radio personality Ezra 'Tshsa' Sibanda.

The late Willard Mashinkila Khumalo with radio personality Ezra 'Tshsa' Sibanda.

By Michael Kariati

Zimbabwean football has once again been thrown into deep mourning following the death late Saturday night of Highlanders and Dream Team legend Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo

Khumalo, who starred for Reinhard Fabisch’s Warriors Dream Team that nearly qualified for the 1994 World Cup in the USA and featured for the team between 1991 and 1994, passed on in Mzilikazia the age of 41 after struggling with diabetes for sometime.

He won the league title and countless knockout tournaments with Highlanders playing alongside the likes of Madinda Ndlovu, Mercedes Sibanda, Peter Nkomo, Titus Majola, Ernest Sibanda, amongst others.

He later on moved to Germany where he played for Bonner SC in the third tier Bundesliga.

Khumalo then turned into coaching where he handled Highlanders, Lanchashire Steel, Mwana Africa before moving to coach in Botswana.

At the time of his death, Khumalo was welfare manager for his favorite team, Highlanders.

Enerst Sibanda popularly known as Mapepa paid tribute to Mawii saying he went too early.

Tragedy also struck Khumalo’s Highlanders side after they were beaten by relegation threatened Whwahwa FC.

Bosso coach Bongani Mafu says it is saddening that his team did not give Khumalo a fitting tribute with a win.

All the top four teams dropped points with the biggest casualties being top of the table Chicken Inn who were beaten 1-0 at home by Hwange.

The Game Cocks coach Joey Antipas admitted that Hwange have had an effect on their league championship aspirations after they also won 1-0 in the first game at the Colliery.

However, both second-placed Triangle and Dynamos failed to capitalize on Chicken Inn’s loss to close the gap at the top.

Triangle were held to a goalless draw by How Mine while Dynamos conceded a last minute own goal from Stephen Alimenda to settle for a one-all draw against Tsholotsho Pirates.

However, Dynamos coach Tonderayi Ndiraya feels his team was hard-done by the manner the referee handled the game accusing the match official of being biased.

Fourth-placed FC Platinum also failed to win after they too were held to a goalless draw by visiting ZPC Kariba.

The other Premiership results were as follows.

Caps United 0 Dongo 0

Flame Lilly 2 Chapungu 1

In athletics, Zimbabwe’s representatives at the ongoing IAAF World Championships were a big disappointment in the marathon where they failed to finish in the top 10.

The highest-placed Zimbabwean was Cuthbert Nyasango who was placed 23rd with Cephas Pasipamire in 30th position and Gilbert Mutandiro way off the pace in 37th position.

Ironically, Nyasango has been shortlisted to represent Zimbabwe at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

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