Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
SPORTS personalities should lead exemplary lives and inspire up and coming stars who look up to them to make a society a better place.
Blessing footballers, referees, coaches and administrators who attended the last service of a three-day church conference that ended on Sunday at Bulawayo’s Johane Masowe weChishanu Selbourne Park, the sect leader Madzibaba Emmanuel Mutumwa said the church always prays for the success of sports personalities.
Among notable faces that attended the service were Highlanders chief executive officer Nhlanhla Dube, captain Ariel Sibanda, defender Peter Muduhwa, midfielder Nqobizitha Masuku, Godfrey Makaruse, Bukhozi Zakhu Sibanda, Manica Diamonds midfielder Xolisani Moyo and former FC Platinum midfielder Winston Mhango who is in the country following expiry of his contract with Kabwe Warriors of Zambia.
Mutumwa, a self-confessed Highlanders fan who pledged three cars to help the club retain the services of keeper Sibanda, Masuku and Muduhwa said: “Sports personalities are role models and through such trying times, we pray for them to lead exemplary lives. Covid-19 lockdown brought misery to most sports personalities, footballers included as they couldn’t carry on with what they love most, playing the game. They also had challenges in providing for their families as there is no such things like winning bonuses to supplement their earnings, but they soldiered on.
“It’s by the grace of the Lord that they managed to sail through these trying times. The church prayed and continues to pray for their success. Spiritual guidance is key in our lives and as a church we manage to assist sports personalities get divine intervention, then they can breathe positive energy to the society and our youths will be saved.”
Mutumwa revealed that they have ordered the cars they promised the club from Japan through a reputable car dealer he does business with.
Highlanders chief executive officer Dube said as a community club, their presence at the Johane Masowe weChishanu Selbourne Park was to show appreciation of the assistance that they got from Mutumwa.
“As Highlanders FC we continue to be humbled by various public figures that have publicly come out to assist the club in its endeavours particularly in times of Covid-19 pandemic. We attended the service as an appreciation and to thank him for the assistance we got from Madzibaba Mutumwa and his church,” said Dube.
On Friday, the Government, though the Sports and Recreation Commission, gave the green light to football to resume on condition that they meet required Covid-19 health guidelines.
“It’s good that the nation’s number one sport, football is coming back. It is my prayer that the programme isn’t affected by Covid-19 cases. I pray that the hand of God protects footballers, their technical teams and management so that the programmes lined up flow smoothly.
“Remember, there’s Chan coming up in January and our locally based footballers will be going there to Cameroon to represent us and possibly get spotted by international scouts,” said Mutumwa. [email protected]