The Sunday Mail
Senior Sports Reporter
IT’S now full-time for the late former Warriors coach, Eagles and Highlanders FC legend Rahman “Dr Rush” Gumbo!
Gumbo died in neighbouring Botswana last week on Friday, a week shy of 60 years, after a short illness.
Hundreds of people from Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa yesterday gathered to bid their last goodbyes to the Zimbabwean football legend, Gumbo, at Bulawayo’s Lady Stanley Cemetery. It is at
Lady Stanley Cemetery that a number of Bulawayo’s football luminaries that include Barry Daka, Tymon Mabaleka, Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda, Willard Khumalo and Adam “Adamski” Ndlovu, among others, were buried, together with those who gave excellent service to the city in various fields. Now they have been joined by the ever humorous Gumbo, significantly on a day he could have turned 60.
Also fondly known as Mr Cash, the departed Gumbo has indeed dazzled his way with that infectious smile to the heavens. In paying tribute to this great football icon, hundreds mourned as the late
Gumbo’s coffin was paraded at Bulawayo’s Amphitheatre where a funeral service was held. So teary was the late Gumbo’s wife Virginia, his children, siblings who also played football, Norman and Nkosana, among others.
The funeral procession paraded through the streets of Bulawayo’s Central Business District and high-density suburbs of Njube, Luveve, Mpopoma, Iminyela, Mzilikazi and Nguboyenja.
“Rahman really loved me. He liberated me to serve and worship God. Rahman and I were more than lovers. He was my big friend who had all the time to check on me. Today (yesterday) is his birthday which he will celebrate on the other side of life,” said a brave and God-fearing late Gumbo’s better-half Virginia.
In a brief sermon, Virginia, an ordained pastor, challenged everyone especially men to turn to God, as all the earthly riches and fame among other things are bound to disappear. The late Gumbo’s son Bukhosi, who had his siblings by his side, said the celebrated former Bosso and Eagles utility player had given them great football life lessons.
“I learnt a great deal from my Dad. He was a great man, a legend who was called by many names that include Maestro, Genius and Goal Poacher. Simply, that was my father. He meant a lot to many people in Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Malawi. Last night, (Friday) we had a discussion with my siblings reflecting on how our father impacted on us. It was a heart to heart discussion. We realised that he showed us the same way, taught us the same things, same football-oriented life lessons. All I can say is thank you to everyone and Bulawayo, you came in your numbers to comfort us. I pray that his legacy lives on. The man of jokes and laughter is gone,” said a sobbing Bukhosi as a sombre atmosphere engulfed Bulawayo’s Amphitheatre.
Highlanders representative Elkanah Dube, who is a Bosso board member, said they were grateful to the Government for granting the late Gumbo a State-assisted funeral.
“Deepest condolences to the Gumbo and Sibanda families and to Sister Virginia. Rahman’s Curriculum Vitae (CV) stands proud. He has earned this honour from the Government and as Highlanders we are grateful for the recognition. Rahman donned the black and white strip and he left a mark. He was a gifted player. He had style, grace and made everything look easy on the pitch. He was agile and a smart player,” said Dube about a man that played alongside the likes of Adamski, Mercedes Sibanda,
Khumalo, Fanuel Ncube, Douglas Mloyi, Peter Nkomo, Johannes Tshuma, Alexander Maseko, Dumisani Nyoni, and Amin Soma-Phiri, among other yesteryear football greats.
“Rahman won league titles as a player and as a coach, a feat that will be remembered by many. He also went on to nurture great Highlanders players that include Zenzo Moyo, Bekithemba Ndlovu, Gift Lunga (jnr), Thulani “Biya” Ncube, Siza Khoza, Melusi Sibanda, Noel Kaseke, Dazzy Kapenya and Johannes Ngodzo. All these players were inspired by Rahman to venture into coaching and football administration,” added Dube.
Premier Soccer League (PSL) chairman Farai Jere attended the funeral.
“We are gathered here, not at Barbourfields Stadium watching Rahman Gumbo doing his best. It’s not at National Sports Stadium where we watched him destroy South Africa. We will miss what Rahman used to do. He is a true
legend. Rahman served with distinction, he was a soldier and he will never die. Legends don’t die, he has disappeared and his legacy will live on,” said Jere, amid revelations that the CAPS United legends had donated US$750 to the Gumbo family.
Also present at the funeral were Botswana’s Morupule Wanderers Football Club executive members and some of the players. The Batswana outfit also handed the late Gumbo’s wife a signed Morupule
Wanderers jersey and another jersey came from another team that Gumbo coached in Botswana, Sua Flamingoes. Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) Normalisation Committee (NC) member Rosemary Mugadza took some time to read a letter that was written by Fifa in
recognition of the late Gumbo’s great football work.
“Words seem inadequate to express our shock. He will be remembered for his career at Highlanders. He will be truly missed,” wrote Fifa.
The late Gumbo had coaching stints in Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa and Malawi. He has championship medals from the three countries, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Malawi. It was in Botswana where he dribbled into the hearts of many. In the western neighbouring country he coached Gaborone United, Township
Rollers, Sua Flamingoes and Morupule Wanderers. His last coaching job was at Morupule Wanderers.
Right on his 60th birthday, the sun set for the Dream Team star. Gumbo was buried in a true spirit of giving a legend a befitting send-off. In colours of his former club, Bosso, his black and white casket was lowered at exactly 4.15pm. It was a funeral that had the Who is Who of Bulawayo, football greats, coaches, football administrators, local football clubs, socialites, friends and relatives that travelled all the way from South Africa, Botswana and overseas.
It’s Farewell Rush, Goodbye Warrior, Go Well Legend of the Game. Indeed, iBhola Seliphelile — @FungaiMuderere