By Innocent Kurira
The Bulawayo football fraternity has been plunged into mourning following the untimely death of 18-year-old Talen Vision defender Cedric Dube, who collapsed during a league match and was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital on Sunday.
Dube, a Form 4 learner at Mpopoma High School, collapsed during a Zifa Southern Region Division Three league match against Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium outside grounds.
He was immediately rushed to Mpilo Central Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Dube reportedly suffered an asthma attack.
Family spokesperson Caleb Sibanda said Dube had no known ailment and they were shocked to receive news of his passing away.
“We are devastated by the passing of the young man. He was a very talented player. In the past weeks he was in Marondera playing in the Proton and Surrey National Association of Secondary Heads (Nash) Under-20 finals, where they made it into the final, which they unfortunately lost,” said Sibanda.
“He was the captain of the school team. Early this year Highlanders wanted to recruit the lad, but l asked them to let the young man play in the junior league till he is at least 19 years old so that he could write his O-Levels then pursue a football career. He said to me he had settled in the junior league for Talen Vision, a side he played for from a young age when it was still called Otrick Spurs.
“We are just from Mpilo (Central Hospital) to get the burial order. We expect to have the burial on Wednesday, but are still to settle for the burial place,” he said.
Talen Vision chief operating officer Brian Moyo said: “This is a difficult time for the club. He was a young man we were looking at and thinking he has a great future ahead of him. He was one of the few youngsters contracted to the team, meaning we were looking at him and thinking if we get promoted into the PSL, he would fill one of the slots for the five juniors. The team is made up of young boys that are still at school and this has been really difficult for them. The club is going to help the family through this difficult time.”
Bulawayo City also took to social media to pass their condolences.
“Our sincere condolences to Talen Vision and the family of the young player who died during our Division 3 match at Barbourfields Stadium yesterday (Sunday). Find comfort in the Lord. We are with you in prayer during this trying time,” tweeted City.
Zifa Bulawayo Province vice-chairman Allan Ripper Mpofu said they were shattered by the tragic death of the schoolboy.
“We are all in mourning with the family and Talen Vision. They have all our support. This is worrying; losing an 18-year-old boy with so much promise is devastating. Personally l have watched the boy play and I remember Dumaza Dube trying to recruit him for Highlanders, but he chose to go to Talen Vision. This is a very sad development for our football,” Mpofu said.
Zimbabwe’s sports medicine guru Nicholas Munyonga said Fifa is working towards ensuring that such incidents do not recur in football.
“We have what we call pre-competition medical assessments that are done to pick up underlying medical conditions, especially heart problems, because these have been seen to lead to tragic events happening on the field. That is why you find all our teams that take part in Caf and Fifa organised matches, even at club level, are expected to have completed that. In the PSL, such medical examinations are a prerequisite for a club to be recognised under Zifa. The pre-competition medical assessment is the first step,” said Munyonga.
Commenting on who should make the medical team for any side, Munyonga said: “The requirements basically need to have a doctor and a nurse as a minimum requirement, and someone who has been trained in emergency sportsmanship. Zifa sometimes does such courses, but limits them to the PSL. It is something that I think the lower leagues need as well in terms of their training.” The Chronicle