Ex-Warriors skipper Shonhayi dies

FORMER Dynamos and Warriors captain Francis Shonhayi has died in South Africa, where he had been battling what was recently diagnosed as meningitis and tuberculosis.

He was 39.

Warriors defender Zvenyika Makonese, who has been looking after Shonhayi for a while, yes

terday confirmed Shonhayi’s death  at Victoria Hospital in Cape Town.

Makonese said he was devastated by the death of the player who used to play the same position as him in the national team.

“It wasn’t looking good and he had been on oxygen since being admitted on Wednesday,” Makonese was quoted by NewZimbabwe.com as saying yesterday.

“Shonhayi had not been well for some time now and his condition had been deteriorating rapidly and I took him to Victoria Hospital. His condition worsened and the doctors had to put him on oxygen.

“Unfortunately they couldn’t do anything for him or even the machine until after Thursday (yesterday), but he sadly died.”

Former Warriors coach Rahman Gumbo, who played alongside Shonhayi in the national team, expressed his sadness on learning of his death.

“It’s very depressing,” Gumbo said. “When I heard that he was not well I was praying that he would get better.”
He added: “Francis was a good friend and team mate. We were very close during the Dream Team days. It saddens me that we keep losing players from the Dream Team after the likes of Benjamin Nkonjera and Mercedes Sibanda.”

Gumbo also lamented the pitiable plight of most footballers after hanging up their boots, and called on the Zimbabwe Football Association to enforce the establishment of a players’ union that will assist players in time of need.

“It’s sad that former players are dying paupers,” he commented.

“Of course sometimes the players are to blame because they fail to realise that there is life after football and they don’t save their earnings. Players need professional guidance and we lack that in Zimbabwe because there is no powerful representative body.

“That players union has been on the cards for a long time, and it’s high time it sees the light of day so that players get that guidance.”

Willard Khumalo, who played with Shonhayi in the national team, also expressed shock at the former star defender’s death. He said Zimbabwean football had lost one of its most illustrious former players who would have contributed to football development in coaching or administration.

Shonhayi was working as a personal driver to David Rodwell, his former boss at former South African premiership side Cape Town Spurs, after hanging up his boots due to injury five years ago.

He had been staying with a “female friend” from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to Makonese. — Staff Writer.