Maphepha burial for Saturday
By Sikhumbuzo Moyo
The late Highlanders legend and former chairman Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda’s burial has been tentatively set for Saturday in Bulawayo, according to his family.
Sibanda succumbed to diabetes complications at a Bulawayo hospital on Tuesday morning at the age of 63.
Sibanda had been admitted at the health facility for more than a week.
“He will be laid to rest on Saturday here in Bulawayo, barring any developments that may occur between now and the set date,” his sister and family spokesperson Beauty said.
Although she did not say where he will be interred, Maphepha is highly likely to be buried at Lady Stanley Cemetery.
Lady Stanley Cemetery is reserved for Bulawayo residents that would have made an outstanding contribution to the well-being of the community in social activities, civic matters, education, religious leadership, business leadership, sport, charity, journalism, philanthropy, trade unionism and invention that benefited the community as a whole and any other outstanding contribution as may be deemed appropriate from time to time by the City Fathers.
Meanwhile, Zifa has described the late Sibanda as an administrator par excellence, who was a colourful player during his playing days and later as Bosso team manager and chairman.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association has learnt with great consternation of the passing of legendary administrator par excellence Ernest Maphepha Sibanda.
“Sibanda was a colourful player who starred for both Highlanders and Caps United. He was always a cheerful, great and hardworking leader who executed his managerial duties with distinctions. Winning four consecutive championships as a team manager and one as an executive chairman of a big institution like Highlanders is clear testimony of his great abilities as a football leader,” said Zifa communications and competitions manager Xolisani Gwesela in a condolence message.
Gwesela said the late Sibanda also executed his national team duties with aplomb.
“He was a great team manager of the Warriors who qualified for the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations finals hosted by Egypt.
Sibanda had a soft spot for young talent, hence many young players found it easy to work with him, both at the national team and at
Highlanders.He was a darling of fans from across the battle of Zimbabwe divide because he believed in sportsmanship and that foes on the pitch must celebrate together after the match.
“It is saddening that we continue to lose legends at a time Zimbabwean football needs all its legends to join hands and contribute to the growth and development of the beautiful game. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this difficult moment of bereavement,” said Gwesela.
Sibanda is survived by seven children. The Chronicle