JUST four months after the death of Edzai Kasinauyo, the football fraternity was yesterday robbed of another former Warriors player, Friday “Amayenge” Phiri.
BY HENRY MHARA
Phiri, who played for the senior national team before going into coaching, where he enjoyed an illustrious career that saw him coach the Young Warriors in 2011, and teams such as his former club Caps United, passed on in Harare yesterday morning.
He was 60.
His brother in-law Ranias Gwatida, who is also the family spokesperson, said Phiri succumbed to liver cancer.
He died at his residence in Glen Norah.
“He passed on at his home this morning (yesterday) at around 10am. He was diagnosed with liver cancer and he was in the process of getting medical assistance. We are saddened by the loss of a father, a brother and a friend,” he said.
“For us, this is a big loss because Friday was a good man. He was someone who held no grudges, and those close to him know he was a friendly man, always with a smile on his face. He was not a smoker and didn’t drink alcohol. He was a church person, who loved praying and helping other people. We will greatly miss him.”
Phiri is survived by wife Rose and three children David, Debra and Manfred.
Gwatida said Phiri’s disease was only discovered a few weeks ago, following his return from South Africa, where he had gone to see his uncle who is not feeling well.
“He was in South Africa for almost a month-and-a-half, where he had gone to see his uncle. He had this sharp pain, but he thought it was ulcers and he was taken to a hospital in Mutare by his brother-in-law, before he came back to Harare and was admitted into Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals for a week,” he said.
“He was discharged on Wednesday and referred to Island Hospice. We lost him before we could move him to the facility.”
Island Hospice and Healthcare is a centre of excellence that provides quality palliative care services and support to patients with life-threatening illnesses.
Mourners are gathered at number 6457 Glen Norah Flats, Chitubu, in Harare, and he will be laid to rest at Zororo Cemetery in Chitungwiza tomorrow.
Condolence messages from football stakeholders started pouring in as soon as the tragic news broke on social media in the afternoon yesterday.
Zifa president Phillip Chiyangwa expressed sadness at the departure of Phiri, saying the beautiful game had been robbed of a remarkable legend.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association has learnt with shock and great sadness, the departure of former Caps United and Warriors left winger Friday Phiri,” he said .
“Friday is one of the finest strikers ever to be produced in this country and achieved huge successes at Caps United. He served the game of football with great distinction and commitment and the void he has left will be enormously difficult to fill. It is, indeed, very painful that we continue to lose our legends at a time we are making great strides to reposition the game.
“On behalf of the Zifa executive committee, the assembly, the secretariat, the entire football family and on my own behalf, I would like to extend deepest condolences to the Phiri family and Caps United during this painful period.”
“We mourn with you and our thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult moment. May you all find comfort in the Almighty God and may his dearest soul rest in eternal peace.”