Maenzanise's death brings spotlight on welfare

BULAWAYO - The welfare of former footballers has been thrust back into the spotlight following the death of former Zimbabwe international Nqobizitha "Jackal" Maenzanise.

A brilliant footballer during his heyday, Maenzanise was working as a caretaker at the Baptist Church in Bulawayo at the time of his death, a far cry from his glory days when he was part of the well sponsored AmaZulu Football Club that illuminated the Zimbabwean football scene in the mid-2000s.

Speaking to reporters at the burial of the former Merlin Husky, Highlanders, Zimbabwe Saints, AmaZulu and Chrome Stars linkman at West Park on Wednesday, his former boss at Usuthu, Delma Lupepe, said it is sad that most former footballers in the country are struggling to make ends met.

"It saddens when I see the state of most former football players in the country," Lupepe said.

"It is unfortunate that AmaZulu were into football for such a short time because we had a lot of positive developments that we wanted to bring into the local game including the issue of pensions but we were forced out of football by our rivals."

AmaZulu were relegated from the top-flight after losing points when they did not fulfil fixtures they were supposed to play on Saturday, which is a day that their owner Lupepe, as a devout Seventh Day Adventist, considers a holy day that should be set aside for worship.

Maenzanise's former skipper at Highlanders, Willard Mashinkila-Khumalo, said the issue of introducing a pension scheme for former players was long overdue.

"We have sat down as former players and talked about the issue of our friends passing on without getting any form of assistance and at Highlanders we now have a funeral policy which covers all our former players," said Khumalo.

"Such schemes should not be happening only at Highlanders but it’s just unfortunate that when such issues are discussed some do not take us seriously and we have to sit down and tackle this issue ourselves and not wait for someone else to do it for us."

Khumalo also implored the current crop of footballers to be wise and put their lives in order to avoid the pitfalls that come with fame and fortune.

"We need the young players to understand that there will come a time when their playing days are over and we have to educate them that there is life after football," Khumalo said.

"They are lucky that legends like Douglas Mloyi and Philimon Dangarebwa are still around and they can really help is such situations."

Previous attempts to set up a pension scheme for footballers collapsed after the players reneged on the arrangement upon realising that the deductions would come from their salaries.

Comments (4)

Its not the Seventh Day Adventist who "consider" saturday/sabbath as a holy.Actual its Gods' holiday, NOT for Seventh Day Adventist.So Gods, creatures should "consider it" like their creator "considers it" as a holiday.So if God is your creator Who "considers" saturday/sabbath as a holiday, so then, who is your creator who does not "considers" saturday as a holiday???????

M'Dawini - 21 February 2014

Delma Lupepe is too small to fight world football rules. According to Fifa matches are played on any day as fixtured by the national football association or its affiliates. lupepe can only change rules in a church league.

chinama - 21 February 2014

Is it the players that believed in the Saturday sabbath or it was brother Delma? Why force your belief and religious stance on people of other religions. They that follow the Jewish religion keep the sabbath holy and we who are christian have no holy day, we preach a holy life everyday. We meet on the first day of the week (Sunday) the day when our Lord Jesus rose from the dead. We meet him to receive life and celebrate life. Say Amen somebody!

Maxwell Msindo - 22 February 2014

It's sad that many a former footballer has to face such demise; the profession is so short-lived, but most sportspersons had rather eat and dream fame, than plan for their future. As the first M'dawini alludes, I am of the firm belief that he got it spot on-sabbath has nothing to do with Delma, know the demise that befell Amazulu, but it is God Himself who has declared, 'Keep the sabbath day holy.' He even added that even your animals have to be rested, what of us as humans. Please, this war is as that of the bicycle and a train; there's only one winner and in this case, God, so let's argue amongst ourselves, but, remember, God doesn't change and has told us and not requested us, to keep the sabbath holy and that is period.

nemburungwe - 24 February 2014

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