By Ngqwele Dube
The country’s football legends are set to renew their romance with the ball in honour of their own as they seek to raise funds for Dynamos legend and former Warriors linkman David “Yogi” Mandigora, whose leg was amputated last month due to diabetes complications.
Highlanders legend Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda visited Mandigora on Thursday at his Vainona residence in Harare where he revealed plans are underway to organise a benefit match for Yogi between Harare and Bulawayo legends.
Sibanda said as former footballers they have to come together and offer whatever assistance they could.
“The trend that we only unite when someone has passed on but we would have seen him struggling should come to an end. Yogi is one of the football stars that lit up our game and was dedicated to the game. As former footballers in Bulawayo we agreed that we should do something for Mandigora but we first wanted to visit him and get permission from him for us to start planning a benefit match,” he said.
Sibanda said other legends could not make it for the visit but had asked him to send good wishes to the 1980 Soccer Star of the Year.
He said it was an emotional meeting as Mandigora shed tears, expressing how grateful he was for the efforts being made to assist him.
“Mandigora could not believe Bulawayo legends were thinking about him and wanted to assist him. He said he never imagined football could unite people from opposing ends in that manner. He agreed that we host the match but added assistance should not be directed at him only but we should not forget other former players in distress,” said Sibanda.
In a telephone interview, Mandigora said he is recuperating well.
“I’m on the road to recovery, getting better everyday. I was happy with the visit and I think Maphepha brought a noble idea but I think the proceeds should go into a fund that will benefit other footballers who are in the same situation.
“There are many former footballers who are struggling out there and I think a fund would be of great benefit to most,” he said.
Sibanda said they are going full throttle in planning the game and will be engaging various stakeholders that include sponsors, fans and administrators.
He said they are hoping to come up with creative ways to raise funds and not only through gate-takings during the match.
Sibanda believes raffling of jerseys and other items and contributions from companies could also come in handy.
“I feel all football lovers should come together to assist, Yogi who was the 1980 Soccer Star, so it’s up to all football stakeholders to ensure the success of this event,” he added. Sunday News