Mbuya Nhema: unsung hero of football

HARARE - The football fraternity of Glen Norah and the surrounding areasa was plunged into mourning following the death of Elina Nhema, who was laid to rest in Shurugwi on February 3.

Mbuya Nhema, mother of cabinet minister Francis Nhema, died on February 1 after a long battle with diabetes.

In 1980, Young Rollers, a Glen Norah area zone soccer team, was formed at Mrs Nhema’s house by her son Francis Nhema and his young brother John Mabasa.

The club would later became a feeder team to CAPS United.

"Mbuya Nhema bought us t-shirts that became our first soccer uniform,” said former CAPS defender Darlington Choto, who now lives in Canada.

“This was a woman who embraced all the young people in Glen Norah, and became our hero. My understanding of a hero is someone who went beyond loving others; she welcomed all of us who were soccer players into her home in Glen Norah.

“We were fed, advised, encouraged, and supported by Mrs Nhema.”

Nhema was a community builder who kept the youth busy with sports and her selfless efforts at Young Rollers produced great Zimbabwean players like Benjamin Mpofu, Oscar Motsi, Tobias and Chrispen Sibanda, Francis and George Nechironga, the late Smart Mukwena, Edwin Farai, Tidings Keta, Darlington Choto, Steven Ngwato, Basel Chisopo,  Bako Dhlamini, and Kimath Dhlamini.

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