Manolios' daughters bid dad farewell

HARARE - The late hockey stalwart Mark Manolios’ exploits on and off the field would not have been complete without inculcating the same passion to his daughters who later went on to become household names in their own right and further uplifting the family name.

Manolios was a hard-working administrator yet so easy going brother to many, friend to numerous, husband to Alison and father to everyone not just his biological daughters.

He breathed his last at a South African hotel last week succumbing to heart failure. He was 78.

While he had just gone through a minor surgery he was largely OK and his family was shocked at the news of his untimely death.

“He is survived by wife Alison, three daughters Shelly, Mandy and Kristina Evans as well as five grandchildren.

Mandy and Kristina both fine hockey players during their time shared with the Daily News of their devastation at the news of their father passing on ahead of a celebration of Manolios’ life tomorrow afternoon.

“Our family has been shocked by his passing. Dad was a force to be reckoned with driven by such determination and passion to improve Zimbabwean sport.

“He was always offering his time and advice freely to assist coaches/administrators and players as sports was his passion and he would always help where he could,” Kristina told the Daily News yesterday.

“He was always on the hockey side-line watching my game and telling me how to improve, giving me coaching sessions at home and improving my game, as well as so many others.

“He was often at school matches just enjoying watching sport being played, it was in his blood.

“Dad always fought for the good of sport and spoke out against any corruption. He is a Zimbabwean sports legend who will never be forgotten.”

Kristina represented national women’s field hockey and indoor hockey teams and she was the vice-captain for field hockey, Mandy represented Zimbabwe School field hockey while Shelley played hockey at school level and was a Mashonaland tennis player.

“Their mother Alison also came from a largely sporting background where she played hockey and softball for the Zimbabwe women’s team — a complete sporting family.

“Dad was a fiercely loyal friend, loving father, grandfather and husband. His death has left a huge hole in our hearts,” Mandy said of her father.
Manolios started coaching the hockey national team from 1970 to 1985 developing world-class players such as Gerald Peckover, Marshall Page and Alan Peake.

“He was the chef de mission when the Zimbabwe Women hockey team won gold at the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.

“He was also present when swimmer Kirsty Coventry now Zimbabwe Sports minister won her first gold medal at the Athens Games in 2004.

He bemoaned the state of hockey in the current three years before his death.

“Everything I did was for hockey. I never got a penny out of it. Hockey is in my blood.

‘‘At my age I am disappointed that hockey is in this state, no turfs, no finances, no partnerships, how do we develop?

“That’s why we have to paddle our own canoes,” Manolios told the Daily News in May 2015.

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