BY PAUL VUTETE BARELY two weeks after laying to rest former Mighty Warriors and Harare City Queens star Aldiglade Bhamu, the local football fraternity was on Tuesday plunged into mourning again after Barnabas Mushunje of Zifa Northern Region Soccer League team Simba Bhora FC passed on.
The former Dynamos and Ngezi Platinum Stars midfielder succumbed to injuries sustained in a road accident along the Harare-Shamva Highway.
He died on admission to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals in Harare.
Simba Bhora FC yesterday said Mushunje will be buried in Bocha, Mutare, tomorrow. He was 24, and is survived by wife and two children.
Club president Tendai Ndoro said Mushunje’s death had robbed them and the country at large of a star player and an entertainer.
Ndoro said his club’s promotion chances had been dealt a huge blow as the left-footed player was the driving force behind the team’s good start to the season.
Simba Bhora FC are currently on top of the Zifa Northern Region Division One log table and are on pole position to win the title, which comes with it promotion to the Premier Soccer League.
“There is no death we can ever accept as pleasant. This loss for us is very painful since we lost a star man of the team. We never anticipated losing him that way. It’’s true no one knows what tomorrow holds,” Ndoro said.
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He said Mushunje’s body would be taken to his rural home today, ahead of burial tomorrow.
Condolence messages continued to pour yesterday from all football stakeholders.
The Northern Region Soccer League (NRSL) yesterday said it had postponed Simba Bhora FC’s weekend matches to allow the team to mourn.
“On behalf of the NRSL leadership, the league and the entire NRSL fraternity I wish to extend my condolences to the Mushunje family on the tragic loss of a son, brother, father, uncle and nephew,” NRSL chairman Martin Kweza said in a statement.
“May you draw comfort from the Almighty in this sad moment. Barnabas’ untimely death has come on the eve of his team’s high-profile league match against Golden Eagles. Resultantly, the NRSL has postponed that game to allow the Simba Bhora family to mourn the death of their star and future warrior. A dream shuttered.”
Dynamos coach Tonderai Ndiraya, who coached Mushunje at Ngezi Platinum Stars and then at the Harare giants before he moved to Simba Bhora this year, is a devastated man.
“Barnabas was a good young man. He was well-disciplined and a hard worker. He was also a very skillful footballer and it is very rare to find such talent and hard working qualities in one person, but Barnabas was such,” he said.
“During his time at Dynamos, he always came tops in our fitness tests. He was the team’s cheerleader alongside Godknows Murwira. We have lost a very talented footballer.”
Ngezi Platinum Stars and FC Platinum are some of the premier league teams that sent their condolence messages to the Mushunje family yesterday.
They were joined by Footballers Union of Zimbabwe.Follow us on Twitter@NewsDayZimbabwe