By Tafadzwa Chigandiwa
The Premier Soccer League (PSL), clubs, local football legends and former players have unanimously joined hands in mourning Highlanders FC legend Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda (64) who succumbed to diabetes on Wednesday at Mater Dei Hospital in Bulawayo.
He was a former Bosso player, manager and chairman.
In a statement, Highlanders FC described Maphepha as a legend and said his death was a dark cloud to the club.
Boss also said his (Maphepha) untimely death had come as a huge blow to the country’s football fraternity as a whole.
“This day, Tuesday 10th August is a dark day for the Highlanders family and the entire Zimbabwean football fraternity as we woke up to devastating news of passing on of a football legend Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda.
“He loved football in general, but he loved Highlanders passionately,” read part of the statement.
The local football supremo, PSL, weighed in their condolence message through their official Twitter account.
“A huge loss to Zimbabwean football as we mourn the death of football lagend Ernest Sibanda.
“His commitment and contributions to the game as a player, club manager, national team manager and @HighlanderBosso Chairman will always be cherished. MHSRIP,” PSL posted on Twitter.
Former Bosso goalkeeper and captain Tapuwa Kapini who won the championship in 2006 when Sibanda was the club’s chairman, also expressed his grief via a Facebook post.
“With deepest sympathy, someone so special, you will not be forgotten.
We had happy times I could never regret, the wonderful memories will live on forever in our hearts, TOPI thank u for everything, Mwari gashira mwana wenyu, R. I. P EMS,” said Kapini.
Ex-Warriors defender, George Mbwando replied to Kapini’s post, “So painful, vane hutsinye vanosvika 100 years vachingorwadzisa vamwe, vakanaka mongotora here just like that nhai Mwari?”
Maphepha won four consecutive championships as a manager and one as a chairman.
He also worked for the nation as the senior national team manager.