Sekuru Chirandu was Takashinga Cricket Club's father figure

Describing the late as a Takashinga father figure, Makoni said Chirandu will be difficult to replace.

TAKASHINGA Cricket Club’s longest serving groundsman, Sekuru Chirandu as he was affectionately known can rest at ease knowing that he served an appreciative institution, which will continue to be with him and his family through life and death.

As he embarked on his last days with both pride and dignity, Maraini Tichivangana was gifted with a house, built to his taste in his rural home Gutu by the country’s biggest black cricket club and more had been planned for him according to one of the the club's founding members, Givemore Makoni.

Maraini passed away in Gutu last Thursday and he was laid to rest in his rural home on Friday.

He was 85, left behind three wives, many children, and many grandchildren.

Describing the late as a Takashinga father figure, Makoni said Chirandu will be difficult to replace.

“Chirandu was very instrumental in the establishment of Takashinga Cricket ground. He worked for us for about 25 years when we started the project before it even turned into a cricket oval, it was one of the Zimbabwe Grounds’ ground number five which was mainly for soccer. When we got the greenlight to develop it into a cricket field when we got a lease from the city council, Chirandu was one of the first groundsmen that worked for us,” Makoni told The Sports Hub.

“He saw that ground turn from a football pitch into a cricket oval. He is one of the most patient men I have ever met, we were together since we were youngsters in our early 20s up to this stage. He saw us mature from young men to where we are today. "He was a humble man, an honest man and a person who really wanted to work hard and achieve something with the rest of us. As we grew into this relationship, he became more than a groundsman. He became a father figure to the whole Takashinga family.

 “Everybody knew him, he knew everyone from the little boys that came in, the little girls that came in to the oldest players at the club. He moulded most of the youngsters in terms of hunhu/ubuntu and he got the best results because he was patient with everybody. It is a huge loss to the Takashinga family. It is a huge loss to the cricketing family, and he will be missed by many if not all," Makoni said.

Makoni, now Zimbabwe Cricket managing director, said the club will fulfil to completion the projects they had already put in motion as part of Chirandu’s retirement package.

“As our partnership grew, I think you also agree with me that in his last few years, Chirandu had grown old. He loved his job and he always wanted to be at Takashinga but as a club we realised that we needed to do something in terms of giving him a retirement package,” he said.

“So, in the last two years we started the process of building him a house at his homestead in Gutu. He saw the house built and it was now at about 98% completion. We had done a nice, beautiful house for him and his family in Gutu area. It’s a pity he did not see its completion.

"The club will proceed to complete the construction of the house, we had also agreed on buying him a scotch cart because it’s one of the things that he really wanted. We also agreed on buying him about 25 goats and two beasts for his kraal so that he could have a nice retirement package.

"We had agreed that Chirandu would work for Takashinga until such a time he says he has had enough and wanted to go home and rest. He was still staying at Takashinga and it was really up to him to say I have contributed enough I’m now retiring home. "So, all those plans having about 50% of them achieved we were looking forward to giving him a huge retirement package and we continue to finish the work that we started.

"Also, at the club we had built a three-star facility which is meant for accommodation for players who come for our academy programmes and hosts incoming teams that come and play against Takashinga. That house had also been named after Chirandu because of his contribution to the club and to the cricket family as a whole. He will obviously be missed by many especially Takashinga itself and all the people that come to the club. He became sort of the furniture for the club, and we will miss him dearly," Makoni added.

Takashinga's first team captain, Chamu Chibhabha, three years ago honoured Chirandu with a framed personal national team jersey and groceries. He said he was gutted to miss his sending off because of franchise cricket commitments.

“The passing of Chirandu came as a shock to us. I had seen him a few weeks ago and he looked perfectly fine and healthy. So, when I heard the news of his passing, it was really sad as someone that I had known for a very long time. He played a huge part in us getting to where we are playing international cricket, playing first class, travelling around the world because there’s never a day you would go to Takashinga and not find facilities to use,” said Chibhabha.

Steve Mangongo, another Takashinga founding member said one of the club’s pillars had fallen no more to rise.

“It’s definitely one pillar of Takashinga cricket, which has fallen. Chirandu as we fondly called him, was with Takashinga from its birth nearly three decades ago. Initially he stayed in Mbare Hostels and daily he would make the journey to his workplace and without fail he would arrive by 6am,” Mangongo said.

“It’s Chirandu’s race, which has come to an end. However, he has left a massive gap at the ceremonial home of black cricket which then inspired other black run clubs to mushroom. Befittingly, Chirandu left the cricket community doing what he did best, thus being the custodian of the first black cricket-run facility."

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