The Sunday Mail
REJUVENATED Manchester United’s star central midfielder Paul Pogba spent Christmas dancing to some party tunes with his brothers Mathias and Florentin, Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane took his family to Abu Dhabi while Lionel Messi relaxed with his wife and played some games with his son Thiago.
That in a nutshell was how some of football’s more lavish top personalities spent their Christmas Day.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for some of Zimbabwe’s top sports stars.
They may not necessarily have the lifestyles and fat bank accounts as those of their international counterparts such as Messi and Pogba, but the gap in wealth did not stop them from having a memorable Christmas.
After a hectic year that saw him suffer a back injury at the beginning of the season, before recovering to guide FC Platinum to their second league title in a row, Norman Mapeza invited friends and relatives to his plush house in Harare’s leafy suburb of Glen Lorne for a “chill out” on Christmas Day.
“It was both a wonderful and difficult year for me so I decided to rest at home with family and friends.
“We had a really great time at home, catching up with close friends and relatives,” said the reigning Coach of the Year, whose side qualified for the CAF Champions’ League group stage last weekend.
Former World Boxing Council Silver welterweight champion Charles Manyuchi (right inset) spent the better part of the day at Vana Children’s Home in Chivhu where he spoiled the less fortunate kids with some goodies.
“It’s unfortunate that these children’s parents chose to abandon them but they deserve a better life. I just thought it would be worthwhile for me to spend Christmas with them,” Manyuchi told Sunday Mail Sport.
The 30-year-old pugilist has set up base in the Mashonaland East town where he runs the vibrant Charles Manyuchi Boxing Academy.
Philanthropy was the order of the day for another top star as former Chevrons skipper Brendan Taylor spent Christmas-eve donating toys to the less fortunate with his boys Michael, Sam and Mason.
“A very important lesson for my kids to part with their “beloved” toys that they take for granted, neglect and accepting that the orphanage we visited today brought pure joy to these children.
“I hope it’s a valuable lesson to them. Merry Christmas,” wrote the 32-year-old on his twitter page.
The caption was accompanied by a picture of the Taylor boys posing with some of the recipients of the toys.
Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Soccer Star of the Year Rodwell Chinyengetere, who recently signed for ABSA Premiership side Baroka FC, chose to stay at home awaiting travel arrangements from his new South African club.
“My wife went to our rural area in Nembudziya, Gokwe but I had to stay at home in Kadoma waiting to get my travel itinerary from Baroka,” said Chinyengetere.
The 30-year-old forward signed a two-year deal with Baroka and will join fellow Zimbabweans Talent Chawapiwa and Elvis Chipezeze who are already at Bakgaga.
For Chibuku Super Cup winning coach Taurai Mangwiro it was a subdued Xmas as the gaffer spent the day at Collin Saunders hospital in Triangle with his mother who needed medical attention.
On Boxing Day, the Mangwiros commemorated the passing on of Taurai’s elder brother and former Dynamos star, Nyaro, who died on December 26, 2002.
“There were no celebrations, my mother is not feeling well and I pray that all will be well soon.” said Mangwiro whose team Triangle FC won the 2018 Chibuku Super Cup after beating Harare City 2-0 at Gibbo last November.
The Castle Lager Premier Soccer League’s most promising player Tatenda “Boss” Tumba (left inset) went to his rural home in Watyoka, Mhondoro where he spent the day listening to yesteryear tales from his grandfather Amos Tumba.
“I just thought of paying my grandfather a visit, you see he always has some nice stories to tell. He also showed me around the place, the fields and the cattle pens,” Tumba said.
Veteran Zimbabwe national cricket team player Chamunorwa Chibhabha seized the opportunity to take his wife and kids to the high density suburb of Chitungwiza for a family get together function.
“My sisters also came for that function and we had dinner together at our parents’ house in Chitungwiza on Christmas day. It was nice to see my parents chatting with their grandchildren,” said the 32-year-old top order batsman.