The year 2020 was very difficult for the sporting fraternity and today, we pay tribute to some sports personalities that we lost.
These personalities touched people of different generations in different ways.
In his song Lean on me, Bill Whithers says “we all have pain, we all have sorrow, but if we are wise, we know that there’s always tomorrow”.
We have all experienced pain and sorrow in 2020, with a number of our countrymen succumbing to the Covid-19 pandemic while others died from other ailments.
The country’s sport faced a dark year as every sporting activity was suspended as a result of the lockdown restrictions and sportsmen and women were forced to stay at home.
They could not provide fans with entertainment and as if that was not enough, some went on to lose their lives.
Here are some of our beloved sports personalities we lost in 2020.
Thelate Richard ‘Dabuka’ Choruma
The former Highlanders and national team midfielder died on Tuesday morning at Tembisa Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the age of 42.
He had been admitted to the hospital on Christmas Eve.
According to his Australia-based brother Warren Wadawu, the former midfielder succumbed to stomach complications and kidney failure.
Choruma cut his football teeth at Phinda Mzala, a team formed by former Amazulu, Caps United and Warriors’ coach Charles Mhlauri in 1995.
He broke into the Premier Soccer League at Air Zimbabwe Jets in 1998 where he played alongside Warriors’ legend Benjani Mwaruwari and Lovemore Mapuya.
He then joined the trailblazing Highlanders squad that dominated the PSL at the turn of the century, winning three league championship medals on the trot before being poached by South African PSL side Bloemfontein Celtics in 2003.
Bosso’s legendary coach, Daka died at the age of 71 after a short illness.
He took over from Englishman Bobby Clarke as Highlanders’ coach in 1985. He went on to win the BAT Rosebowl in the same. It was, however, in 1986 that he led Bosso to a sweep on all trophies on offer such as the Independence Cup, Chibuku Trophy, Rothmans Shield and Natbrew Zifa Cup.
Daka was coaching Bulawayo City FC juniors at the time of his death.
He was working at the municipal owned club with another legendary former Bosso juniors’ coach Ali “Baba” Dube.
Highlanders’ legend Willie Luphahla, popularly known as Matholwane died on September 5.
Luphahla died in Bulawayo at the age of 64 after a long illness. His family had a rich history with Highlanders as his late father, George Luphahla was once the Bosso president.
He retired in 1976 because of a broken right leg. Luphahla played for Highlanders at the same time with the likes of Douglas Mloyi, Barry Daka, Tymon Mabaleka, Lawrence Phiri, Josiah Nxumalo, Tommy Masuku and Billy Sibanda.
Those who watched Luphahla during his playing days described him as one of the finest midfielders to emerge from Highlanders.
A volleyball pioneer in Bulawayo, Nyabadza died on June 5. He was a key member of the all-conquering Sparrows Thabani team which featured Sihlangu Dlodlo, Sydney Dube, Clifford and Patrick Makunike, Sairota Banda, Francis and Phios Moyo.
He acquitted himself well as chairman of the once vibrant Matabeleland Volleyball Association. Nyabadza played as an outside hitter with the 5-4 attack his favourite.
The former Manicaland, Meikles, Olympics and Zimbabwe Saints FC defender died on November 22 at the age of 65. He died after complications with diabetes.
He played with the likes of Gibson Homela, Isaac Banda, Steve Kwashi, William Sibanda, Musa Muzanenhamo, Itai Chieza, Andrew Kadengu and Douglas Maneto.
He rose to recognition when he shut out Edward Katsvere of Dynamos in the 1977 Castle Cup final. Makadzange said Hwange’s David “Dididi” Khumalo, Boy Ndlovu, the late maestro Majuta Mpofu, Doubt Sithole and Mike Abrahams were some players he rated highly.
The late Tawanda Makombe
Makombe (36) died after a train derailment on December 17. He won many accolades in his illustrious career, with the most recent being the Bulawayo Volleyball Association’s most valuable player in 2018. Makombe worked for the National Railways of Zimbabwe as a signals engineer and had only been elected BVA vice-chairperson a few months before his death.
A staunch Bosso fan collapsed and died in South Africa in September. Khumalo died at a time she was mobilising resources to buy sanitary pads for the Highlanders Royals. Her friends have since taken over the responsibility to provide the Royals with sanitary pads.
The prominent Highlanders fan based in Gwanda town died in a horrific crash last Sunday. He was ejected from his rolling vehicle and left perched on a tree.
The late Lubelihle Maphosa
Bosso top supporter Lubelihle Maphosa, succumbed to an asthma attack at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) on April 12.
Popularly known as Luba, the 35-year-old rarely missed Highlanders’ matches and was a member of the club’s Team Away group that travelled to watch all Bosso games outside Bulawayo.