The Sunday News
Innocent Kurira, Sports Reporter
FOR the Zimbabwean sports fraternity, the start to the year 2023 has been nothing but tragic.
From losing the football pair of Rufaro Machingura and Dennis Tshuma to the cricketing duo of Sinikiwe “Sneeze” Mpofu and Mduduzi Fuzwayo, to netball’s Christine Sithole, January has not been kind. These deaths early in the year have shaken fans and the fraternity at large.
Here are some of the sports personalties that have left us early into the year 2023 in detail.
The gap left by Sithole in the netball fraternity will be difficult to fill. Sithole died on New Year’s Eve after complaining of a headache.
The 36-year-old was playing for Golden Girls in the Masiye Netball League. She was laid to rest in Chimanimani. Sithole was a dedicated player who was an inspiration to young girls in netball.
Machingura, who died on 5 January after a long illness, was the star of the Mighty Warriors team when they lifted the Cosafa Cup in 2011 and is remembered for netting five goals in a semi-final duel against Malawi. She was also part of the Shadreck Mlauzi squad that went to represent the country at the Rio Olympics. She also represented the country at the 2016 Africa Women’s Cup.
Tshuma (54) was one of the longest-serving Zifa councillors after starting his duties in 2003. He has been with the national referee’s committee as a co-coordinator.
At the time of his demise, Tshuma was the Zifa Matabeleland North chairperson as well as a village head at Kasibo Village in Hwange District. He will be laid to rest today.
As one of the pioneers of women’s cricket in Zimbabwe, Mpofu, born in Bulawayo on 21 February 1985, was a talented all-rounder who was part of the history-making team that represented Zimbabwe women in their first-ever international cricket match in December 2006. Mpofu has been part of the technical teams that have seen Zimbabwe women dominating Africa, earning one-day international status and recently finishing just one win away from qualifying for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
As coach of Mountaineers women, she led the side to victory in the inaugural Fifty50 Challenge, Zimbabwe’s provincial one-day championship for women, in the 2020/21 season and the following term led them to the final of the Women’s T20 where they finished as runner ups.
Mpofu’s death came less than a month after she buried her husband, Shepherd Makunura who was the Zimbabwe senior men’s cricket team fielding coach who died on December 15.
Just to underline the contribution she made to Zimbabwean sport, Mpofu was laid to rest at Lady Stanley Cemetery, which is seen as Bulawayo’s heroes acre reserved only for those who have contributed to putting the City of Kings on the global map through their God given talents.
He is said to have been robbed after he was hit from the back and left for dead in a pool of water by the perpetrators who remain at large on the night of the tragic incident.
Born 22 on December 1986, “Zuf”, as he was affectionately known, started playing cricket at a young age. He attended Greenfield Primary School before moving to Henry Low Primary School. For his high school, Fuzwayo went to Milton Boys High School and Christian Brothers College (CBC) where he represented the latter at Under-16 level.
After years of excelling for Queens Sports Club, Fuzwayo managed to play three first-class matches for Tuskers before an ankle injury brought his career to a premature end. He also coached Petra High School’s first team for a couple of years. -@innocentskizoe