The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
FORMER Zimbabwe Saints official, Adage Chipwanyira, popularly known as Gumbo who died on Monday at the age of 61 from complications linked to high blood pressure was laid to rest at Athlone Cemetery on Thursday.
Chipwanyira, a businessman with interests in commodity broking as well as mining served Saints in various capacities from the 1990s until Chikwata were demoted from the Premier Soccer League.
He leaves behind his wife Susan and seven children.
According to his young brother Adonis, the late Chipwanyira, who was born in Bulawayo and grew up in Mpopoma played for Zimbabwe Saints juniors as a midfielder. When he moved to Plumtree, where he worked for Allen Wack and Shepherd Global Freight, a clearing company he started sponsoring Plumtree Football Club, which had players such as Ronald “Gidiza” Sibanda, who later played for Zimbabwe Saints.
“In his teens he played for Zimbabwe Saints juniors, he was playing as a midfielder, from there he was now involved with Plumtree Football Club that was in Division One. This is where he had players like Ronald Sibanda. In the early 1990s he moved over to Zimbabwe Saints where he was the acting organising secretary, in that move he brought in players like Ronald “Gidiza” Sibanda and Leonard Chunda. Around 1994 to 1996, he was the team manager for Zimbabwe Saints,’’ Adonis said.
Former Zimbabwe Saints coach, Bongani Mafu described the late Chipwayira as an incredible individual who played a massive role in Chikwata’s successful years.
“He was an unbelievable character, he was one of the reasons why Zimbabwe Saints did well. He was scouting boys from Bulawayo to Plumtree. When I was coaching Zimbabwe Saints, he used to attend training sessions and matches. It’s a sad loss for Zimbabwe Saints,’’ Mafu said.
According to Mafu, the late Chipwanyira was one of the few Saints officials who backed his words with financial contributions to the club.
“He is one of the few Saints guys who put his money where his mouth was, he bought a Toyota Sprinter that Plumtree FC and Saints used. He was a football man through and through, he gave his life and blood to Plumtree FC and Zimbabwe Saints,’’ said Mafu.
Zimbabwe Saints Board of trustees’ chairman, Vincent Pamire, interim executive committee chairman, Felix Dzumbunu, former Chikwata player Aubrey Sauramba were some of those who accompanied Chipwanyira to his final resting place. Zimpapers general manager, publishing and digital Marks Shayamano, a cousin to the late Chipwanyira also attended the funeral. – @Mdawini_29