Nqobizitha Maenzanise laid to rest

BULAWAYO - Former Zimbabwe international midfielder Nqobizitha “MaHumpty” Maenzanise, who passed away last Sunday, was laid to rest at West Park cemetery in Bulawayo on Wednesday.

The former Merlin Husky, Highlanders, Zimbabwe Saints, AmaZulu and Chrome Stars linkman’s funeral was attended by a cross section of football personalities who included his former teammates and administrators from the various clubs that he played for.

GONE TOO SOON: Nqobizitha Maenzanise’s daughters Nozipho, left, and Langazelo, right, hold their father’s portrait while his wife Kwanele, centre, looks on.

Speaking at the funeral service at the Baptist Church in the city, AmaZulu owner Delma Lupepe described the late Maenzanise as the driving force behind his team’s success.

“I don’t believe that AmaZulu would have reached the heights that we reached had Maenzanise not been part of the team,” Lupepe said.

“He was a true leader and very hardworking and I believe that with proper guidance and training, which is something that lacks even to this day, MaHumpty could have easily gone on to play overseas because he was a very skilful and intelligent player.”

And in an interview after the burial, Maenzanise’s former teammate, Isaac Riyano, who is back in the country on a visit from the United Kingdom, shared Lupepe’s sentiments. 

“Humpty was a true leader and did not like to be on the losing side,” Riyano said.

“He was just like (former Manchester United captain) Roy Keane and he would always push us to fight harder whether it was at training or during a match.”

Other football personalities who delivered speeches during the late Maenzanise’s funeral service included his former coach at Highlanders, Zimbabwe Saints and AmaZulu, Cosmas Zulu, and his former coach at Zimbabwe Saints and AmaZulu, Philimon Dangarembwa, who is also a family friend.

Both Zulu and Dangarembwa recounted how brilliant a footballer Maenzanise was and how his eccentric behaviour led to his being misunderstood at times.

Lupepe also recounted a number of incidents where the late football’s irrational behaviour would get him into trouble, chief among those being an incident when Maenzanise got into trouble with the law after caressing a female flight attendant’s behind during a flight back home to Bulawayo from Harare where they had gone for a match.

Maenzanise, however, later received Jesus Christ and become a born again Christian.

He was baptised last year at the Baptist Church and was later on hired as a caretaker at the church’s premises in the city centre.

Some of the football personalities who were present during the funeral include his former AmaZulu teammates Goodson Gama, Nkosana Gumbo, Herbert Dick, Mkhuphali Masuku, Sikhumbuzo Ndebele, and Ferdinand Mwachindalo.

Bulawayo giants Highlanders were represented by executive members Mgcini Mpofu and Charles Moyo while also present were former Highlanders stars Peter Nkomo, Willard Khumalo, Tobias Mudyambanje, Douglas Mloyi, Johannes Ngodzo, Bekithemba Ndlovu, Gift Lunga Senior and Nkululeko Dlodlo.

Dlodlo, who was the late Maenzanise’s teammate in the famous Highlanders Under-19 squad that flew the Zimbabwean flag high during the Aberdeen Youth Football Festival in 1987, was part of the pall bearers alongside Masuku, Gumbo, Nkomo, Lunga and Ndebele.

Maenzanise’s former teammates who are based in the United Kingdom Muzondiwa Mugadza, Eugene Langa, Lloyd Jowa, and Matambanashe Sibanda sent their condolences in a message that was read by Dangarembwa at the end of his eulogy.

Maenzanise left behind a wife Kwanele and two daughters Nozipho and Langazelo.

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