Highlanders Officials Snubbed At Maphepha Burial
16 August 2021
Highlanders Football Club officials were reportedly sidelined at the main service held on Saturday at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre for their late former manager and chairman Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda.
Sibanda was laid to rest at Lady Stanley Cemetery on Saturday.
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Sibanda’s friends and sympathisers believe Highlanders had ostracized him, at one time Sibanda was barred from contesting the club chairmanship in 2018.
Bosso accused him of defrauding the club of funds arising from the sale of Obadiah Tarumbwa to Cercle Brugge of Belgium. Sibanda’s return as manager was also blocked at one time.
Highlanders’ president Ndumiso Gumede was in no show with sources saying club chairman Johnfat Sibanda was told to attend as a friend and not in his capacity as a club official.
The Bosso leaders after 2006, when the club last won the league title were not welcome. Sibanda was chairman when Bosso won its last title in 2006.
Former Highlanders striker Gift Lunga Junior spoke on behalf of the class of 1998 players that won four titles in a row with Sibanda as manager. Lunga said:
Maphepha did not only teach us football. He made all of us his boys. He did not only teach us to win championships, but he groomed us to be men and have families.
We are proud of you (Maphepha) that is why we had tried to celebrate you when you were alive. We thank you very much.
Lunga said had it not been for Sibanda, most of them would have languished in prison. He said:
He taught us football from the grassroots. We grew up in his hands until the time we won the four championships.
Football has helped us a lot and had it not been for Maphepha we would have been in prison.
We must impart what you taught us to our upcoming stars.
Also taking to the stage was Bulawayo City chairman Jerry Sibanda, who was full of praise for Sibanda, who at the time of his death was a board member at the council-owned club.
Sibanda is a former Highlanders player and club treasurer while Zenzo Moyo, a former Highlanders striker, is Bulawayo City vice-chairman and Lunga is a juniors’ coach.