By Ellina Mhlanga
The local handball fraternity was on Tuesday thrown into mourning following the death of national Under-21 men’s team coach, Clemence Leonard.
Leonard was 38.
He is survived by one child and mourners are gathered at number 480 Chitambo in Chinhoyi.
Leonard succumbed to injuries sustained when he fell from a tractor, which then ran over him, on Tuesday morning.
He was taken to Banket hospital where he died a few hours later.
His aunt Chiruva Mumba confirmed his death.
“He passed away yesterday (Tuesday). He fell from a tractor after hitting a pothole and the tractor ran over him.
‘’It was around 5am and he passed away around at 9am at Banket hospital.
“He had a bright future, good plans and a lot of hope. He was quiet and was friendly to everyone, never had problems with anyone.
“We are still finalising the burial arrangements because we are waiting for his father. We are hoping it might take place tomorrow (today),” said Mumba.
Leonard became the national team coach in 2017 and has been with the Under-21 team under the Zimbabwe Handball Federation Vision 2024 to build a national side that can challenge for qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games.
For this project, he was working with Innocent Kanosvova and Swiss coach Rolf Haussener.
He joined ZHF in 2010 and became coach for Mashonaland West Province at the National Youth Games in 2012.
He went to Sweden as the national team assistant coach in the same year.
He also worked with youth teams in 2012, 2015 and 2017, leading some of the teams to international camps at the Partille Cup.
In 2018, he won a bronze medal at the Zone Six Games with the Under-18 side. Besides his coaching career, he was also a founding member of the Mashrhino Sports Academy which was headed by the vice-president of the Zimbabwe Handball Federation, Alfos Mhondiwa.
The Zimbabwe Handball Federation secretary-general, Edison Chirowodza, said Leonard’s untimely death was a huge loss.
“A dark moment for handball fraternity, we have just lost our Under-21 junior national team coach Clemence Leonard Mumba, a loss to Zimbabwe sport.
“What an untimely death, we are really grieving as we had a vision to fulfil together with him. It’s so sad.
“He was very quiet and calm and committed to duty. He was goal-oriented and he was someone who would always want to learn,” said Chirowodza.
Mhondiwa paid tribute to Leonard for his role in establishing the academy.
“Clemence was so close to me, he was now more of a brother. We built this academy to where it is now together.
“Of course, I am the director but he led the technical part. He is one of the guys I trained to coach, I recruited him, I trained him to coach and I realised he was interested.
“He was a disciplined men, very focused, he loved his sport…he was amicable, respectable and he was loved,” said Mhondiwa.
Former ZHF president, Amon Madzvamuse, said he was shocked to learn of Leonard’s tragic death. The Herald