The Sunday Mail
FORMER Warriors and CAPS United gaffer, Charles Mhlauri, has paid tribute to the late junior football coach Partson Ndabambi and described him as soldier of development who was endowed with self-drive for the love of the sport.
The United States-based coach said he was shocked to learn of Ndabambi’s death just over two months after the youthful gaffer had requested for assistance from him for another development project he had sought to undertake.
Ndabambi (48) died early Tuesday at his rural home in Gokwe and was buried in the same area Thursday.
“My thoughts and prayers are with his family. He was very passionate about football in general and junior development in particular. He was a good student of the game. I knew him before he started coaching in the PSL back in the days at the juniors’ club in Bulawayo, Amavevane.
“He worked with Zifa Bulawayo during the days of Nhamo Rusamo as ‘organising secretary’ then moved to Harare around 2002, ending up at Harare United as team manager. He had stints with clubs such as Shooting Stars and ZPC.
“He would religiously spend time at my offices in Eastlea to discuss football, more importantly, juniors.
“My last exchange with him was in July when he told me that he was turning his focus to high school football and helping a Second Division team in Kwekwe. He also started a WhatsApp chat group to focus on assisting upcoming coaches, teachers and to share ideas about the game,’’ Mhlauri said.
Mhlauri, who also coached the now defunct AmaZulu and lower division side Phinda Mzala, noted that Ndabambi barely missed the Copa-Cola schools’ tournament, one of the platforms he used to scout for talent.
“He was a frequent coach at the Coca-Cola tournaments scouting for talent. Having coached at PSL and to still turn to grassroots speaks volumes about his self-drive and love for the game. It pains me more to learn that he passed on in his rural home away from Barbourfields, Gwanzura and Rufaro, where he fought some good fights for the game. May his soul rest in peace,’’ Mhlauri said.
Ex-Zifa board member (development), Regis Dzenga, who also worked as Ndabambi’s boss at Harare United and later at Academy 2063, described the coach’s death as a blow.
“Partson was a strong member of the football family and much loved by our boys. May his soul rest in peace,’’ Dzenga said.