By Tadious Manyepo
Warriors and Bloemfontein Celtic defender Ronald Pfumbidzai regrets the fact that he won’t be able to physically pay his last respects to ZIFA Club Licensing and First Instance Board chairman Piraishe Mabhena.
Mabhena died on New Year’s Day at the age of 42 and will be laid to rest at his rural home in Mberengwa this afternoon.
While some football authorities in the country will get near Mabhena’s final resting place, Pfumbidzai won’t have the chance to bid farewell to the man who helped clear the platform for him to showcase himself.
The 25-year-old is at his Bloemfontein base in South Africa where he has been celebrating the arrival of his first son, Keagan, but all that has been diluted by the news of Mabhena’s demise.
“I would have wanted to bid farewell to Mabhena (Piraishe). Unfortunately, I won’t be part of the burial proceedings. But his death is a body blow for me. My thoughts are with his family and the football fraternity,” said Pfumbidzai. The former CAPS United full-back first met Mabhena back in 2011 when he arrived at Division One outfit Hippo Valley for trials.
Mabhena was an executive at the club which was under the tutelage of Jostein Mathuthu who was being deputised by Taku Shariwa.
Besides being a member of the administration, Mabhena was also helping in talent scouting for the club.
And Pfumbidzai needed just one friendly match against Triangle to get Mabhena’s endorsement.
He subsequently signed a two-year contract with Hippo Valley.
For the two years which followed, Pfumbidzai proved to be a real talent and Triangle wanted to sign him.
With everything in place for the roving defender to put pen to paper, an opportunity to join CAPS United presented itself to him.
In fact, it was Mabhena who brokered the deal, negotiating with former Makepekepe president Twine Phiri for Pfumbidzai’s switch to Harare.
“I have met several good people in my football journey but I have to admit that it was Mabhena who gave me the platform to meet all those people and to launch my career which has taken me this far.
“He was a good person in general and a top of the range football administrator. I tell you, I played just one friendly match while on trials at Hippo Valley against Triangle.
“Mabhena recommended me to be signed immediately after that friendly match against Triangle.
“Then towards the end of 2012, he talked with Twine Phiri for me to join CAPS United and I signed a pre-contract with them before I joined the side in 2013.”
Pfumbidzai’s profile grew in leaps and bounds and he helped the Green Machine win their first league title in more than a decade in 2016 before moving to Bloemfontein Celtic where he is a key member of that club.
“It’s a shame I won’t be able to bid him farewell. He played a crucial role in my becoming the player I am today.
“I am pained by his death. I know he helped not only me but several players and administrators realise their dreams as well. He will be dearly missed.” The Herald