HARARE - Nkululeko Sibanda — businessman and owner of Zifa second-tier football side Twalumba FC — has died after a short illness.
The former Black Mambas sponsor, who is also husband to Zifa board member — Miriam Sibanda — died at Parirenyatwa Hospital on Saturday evening where he had been taken ill, according to the family.
Longtime friend and Twalumba coach Wilson Mutekede could not provide more details as he was busy with funeral arrangements.
“It’s a very sad day for us but I cannot comment now,” Mutekede told the Daily News yesterday.
Mourners are gathered at number 12 Woodland Road in Borrowdale, Harare.
Zifa president Cuthbert Dube also paid tribute to Sibanda’s contribution saying he did a lot for the development of football in the country
“On behalf of the Zifa board, we are saddened by the death of Sibanda, the husband to our colleague,” Dube said in a statement yesterday.
“It is a loss to the whole football fraternity, we continue with our prayers in this painful moment. Sibanda contributed a lot to the development of football in the country through Twalumba holdings,” Dube said.
Sibanda leaves behind a huge legacy having also been involved in numerous projects in his home area Binga.
He launched an audacious bid to bring premiership football to his native Binga when he purchased Highfield United which he later renamed Twalumba FC.
He loaned most of the experienced players he had signed on to PSL clubs while Twalumba was making an assault for the Division One title.
Among the players he signed were Warriors icon Peter Ndlovu who had a brief stint with Black Mambas where his elder brother Madinda had been brought in by Sibanda in 2010 to lead its technical team.
The high profile relationship between Sibanda and the Ndlovu brothers, who come from the same village in Binga, ended sourly when Peter dragged the late businessman to court for breach of contract.
But many will remember Sibanda as the man who had lofty ideas and those included taking premiership football to Binga.
At Twalumba, at one time, he assembled a very expensive side which had Mike Madzivanyika, Gift Muzadzi and former Under 23 manager Zivanayi “Zifa” Chiyangwa as its technical team.
Among the players who drove Twalumba’s project were Protash Kabwe, Ngoni Maviri, Isaac Madziva, Elisha Muroyiwa and Fortune Ncube.
Former Warriors and Dynamos goalkeeper Washington Arubi and Ugandan Boban Zirintusa at one time were in Twalumba’s books as he sought to live his dream.
Sibanda was also known for empowering his rural Binga where he had many projects including the popular Binga marathon which he bankrolled.