Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE football legend Hamid “Muzukuru” Dhana, who passed away yesterday, has been described by his wife Brigit as a fighter who fought till the end.
He was 61.
He died at his Braeside home in Harare after losing his battle with colon cancer.
The former Dynamos, Arcadia United and Black Rhinos midfielder was diagnosed with colon cancer three years ago.
His wife told The Herald Dhana was a man who was loved by his community.
“He was diagnosed three years ago and could have had the cancer for a little longer but, because he was active, we only knew about it three years ago,’’ she said.
“He fought a good fight and fought to the end. He was a soldier and a fighter. He was a loving person and was loved by the community and was a good football player.’’
Mourners are gathered at 4 Nightingale Close in Braeside.
Dhana is survived by wife Brigit, six children and 11 grandchildren.
Brigit said the funeral arrangements were yet to be put in place since his children had just returned to the United Kingdom and Canada last week and would have to make new plans to return home.
Former Dynamos midfielder and coach David “Yogi” Mandigora, who was Dhana’s teammate at the Glamour Boys, said it was another sad day for football.
“I can’t say much at the moment. It’s a sad day. We got along very well. He was a very nice guy and I was disappointed when he left for Black Rhinos.
“We played together at Dynamos and the national team.’’
Dhana’s close friend, Charlie Jones, described the former midfielder as a gentleman.
“It’s very sad to lose a legend of his calibre. We will sadly miss him. He was always a gentleman and a close friend,” he said. Veteran broadcaster Charles “CNN” Mabika, who had dedicated yesterday’s Battle of Zimbabwe between Dynamos and Highanders to Dhana and Madinda Ndlovu, who is also under the weather in Botswana, said the former midfielder’s death had come as a shock.
“It is a shock to me because he seemed to be on the mend. Football is a loser. He was one of the finest midfielders this country has ever produced,’’ said Mabika.
“He was a jovial fellow. I remember him during the Warriors’ trips, he was always cracking jokes.
“My deepest condolences to the Dhana family, his football legacy will live forever.’’
Mabika had written glowingly about Dhana in The Herald on Thursday.
“Dhana will forever be remembered for his unique and mesmerising swivel, with the ball firmly under control, followed by a defence-splitting pass to set up the likes of Gift Mpariwa or Oliver Kateya,” he wrote.
In that same article Mandigora recalled that golden era.
“Hamid is, undoubtedly, one of the most skilful players I have ever played alongside,’’ said Mandigora.
“I was more of a defensive shield at both sides while Dhana would be given the licence to roam around the field and create openings for the strikers . . . and boy, he do it so diligently.
“Then, of course, there is that inimitable back body swerve where he would be facing his own goal and, all of a sudden, his marker would stumble following that miraculous swivel.
“And, he would glide up-field as he looked for an opening to cause more havoc,” said Mandigora.
His daughter, Syreeta, last year had told the world how shattered she was when she learnt about her father’s condition.
“Learning how short life is and as we experience life’s lessons and how our decisions make, break and change our lives entirely, I wish I had made some different decisions and spent more time going back home to Zimbabwe to see my dad,’’ she said.
“Having only seen my dad once in 17 years. I leave next month to go hold his hand, play cards with him at home and try to boost his spirits to help him kick this demon called cancer, but we need your help please.
“His mind is tremendously strong, his spirit unfailing and his heart solid. That great ‘midfielder’ is ready to physically kick this Cancer!’’
Yesterday, Dhana lost that battle.