‘Sporting hero’ dies in ankle op: Zim student in mystery Ukraine death
By Nqobile Tshili
A 19-year-old Zimbabwean student who was studying in Ukraine died under unclear circumstances following a minor operation on his ankle after he was injured during a soccer match, with his family describing his death as mysterious.
Adrian Manyathela from Bulawayo’s New Parklands suburb, whose body is expected in the country today, died on May 3 after he was injured while playing for Bohdan Khmelyntsky National University of Cherkasy the previous day.
He was a former pupil at Christian Brothers College and once won gold for his country during a Sadc schools athletics competition.
His former school yesterday said it had lost a sporting hero.
The student’s father Mr Jabulani Manyathela yesterday said there were so many unanswered questions over his son’s death.
He said Adrian was a first year student at the university studying commercials and his body is supposed to arrive in the country today.
“He was playing soccer against another university so he got injured after being tackled by another player and developed a closed fracture. He was taken to hospital for an operation and the doctor demanded $800 prior to conducting the surgery. But the operation was later done and I spoke to him after the surgery and he was positive about recovering,” he said.
Mr Manyathela said he got worried later in the night when he tried calling his son’s phone but he was no longer answering it. He said he was shocked to learn that his son had died following the minor injury and operation.
“The following day I was phoned by the university saying ‘we are sorry to inform you that Adrian Manyathela has died.’ I responded saying ‘you are lying Adrian had just a small fracture he couldn’t have died.’ But they insisted so I had to look for his friends in trying to understand what was happening,” he said.
Mr Manyathela said his son’s friend, a Ghanaian, said Adrian complained that the doctor did not properly attend to him and the last time they spoke he was in great pain.
He said the family finds it mysterious that he could have been killed by the fracture, saying even a broken leg would not have seen him dead.
“It was just a closed fracture. How can that kill someone? We have consulted local medical experts who also ruled out that the injury could have killed him. We’re going to conduct another post mortem when his body arrives,” he said.
Mr Manyathela said on reflection, it was a mistake to send his son to study in Ukraine.
He said after his death, the university handed his body to a shipping company without making any payments.
Mr Manyathela said he later paid $10 000 to bring his son’s body home.
He showed The Chronicle news crew a video of his son’s body placed in a drive way for students to pay their last respects.
Mr Manyathela said what worsened the situation is that Zimbabwe does not have an embassy in Ukraine and there is not much they can do to get answers regarding his death.
Christian Brothers College through its Facebook page sent a condolence message to Adrian’s family.
The school described him as a great athlete who represented the country in the Confederation of Schools Sports Association of Southern Africa athletics championships winning gold for the country in 2014.
“The school is in great distress for it has lost a sports hero, a role model who could have ploughed back his skills in athletics. Nonetheless, he left a legacy that he will always be remembered by especially in sports. The Board of Governors, the Headmaster, Staff and Pupils of Christian Brothers’ College offer their deepest sympathies to the Manyathela family. You are all in our thoughts and prayers,” reads the CBS’s post. The Chronicle