By Sifiso Sibanda
THE late sports icon Ernest Maphepha Sibanda, who died on the 10th of this month, has been buried at Lady Stanley cemetery in Bulawayo.
The Bulawayo community gathered at the Amphitheatre to pay their last respects to former Highlanders chairman and Warriors Team Manager Ernest Maphepha Sibanda.
Family spokesperson Mrs Beauty Ndlovu said Sibanda would be remembered for his kindness and support to the family.
“We lost someone so dear to our lives and we can feel the void he left in the family and the community as he was a loving brother and community leader,” she said.
Football legends representative Lawrence Phiri said Maphepha proved that legends have a huge role to play in the administration of the beautiful game.
“Maphepha proved that sports is a unifier and that those who understand the game better are good in administering sport hence the need to change this culture of brushing aside legends in running the game, because they deliver,” said Phiri.
Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni called for the establishment of Ernest Sibanda Soccer Academy to preserve his legacy.
“The best way to respect and honor Maphepha is to establish a soccer academy in his honor and as the city we commit to this so that we don’t only preserve his legacy buy we also help the vulnerable children to participate in sports,” he said.
Bulawayo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Honourable Judith Ncube said Maphepha demonstrated that it is only through unity that people can succeed.
“As we lay to rest Sibanda let us come together as a family of Bulawayo and work as a a team to champion development together and stop wanting to underplay the contributions of other people,” said Minister Ncube.
Born in 1957 at Mpilo hospital, Ernest Sibangani Sibanda did his primary education at Mzilikazi and Harlem schools before going to Sizani High school where his football skills started to blossom.
He is survived by his wife Siboniso and 8 children.
By Sifiso Sibanda