Govt turns down Dynamos’ hero status requests for George Shaya

Zimstar News

Zanu PF and government have turned down requests by Dynamos Football Club for club legend and Zimbabwe football icon George Shaya to be granted national hero status.

Shaya died aged 77 in his Harare home following a long illness.

He will be buried at Warren Hills cemetery on Saturday.

Following his death, Dynamos wrote to Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) seeking facilitation of conferment of national hero status on the late former football star who dominated the soccer star of the year calendar in 1969, 1972, 1975, 1976 and 1977.

“The request for the national hero status is premised on George Shaya representing the rise of black national consciousness and nationalism through his football genius, artistry and prowess during his playing days spanning 1968 to late 70s,” wrote the club.

However, Sports minister Kirsty Coventry told the Shaya family Wednesday the football icon would get a state assisted funeral.

“He is one of the greatest sports persons to have emerged from this country,” said the minister.

“Government has therefore, accorded him a state-assisted funeral.”

Coventry said, “The history of the game will be amiss without the mention of his name”.

Zanu PF has the sole prerogative to determine one’s hero status on behalf of government.

A state assisted funeral is often granted to locals seen as having excelled in their trade although having modest contribution to the national cause.

The honour is often regarded as consolation for those who would have felt short-changed by one’s failure to be accorded hero status.

Government has been slammed for apparent inconsistencies in according hero status to outstanding citizens.

Music icon Oliver Mtukudzi was in 2018 granted national hero status, becoming the first musician to be interred at the national shrine.

Late boxer Langton ‘Schoolboy’ Tinago, who died aged 69 in 2018 and late popular Zimdancehall chanter Souljah Love, who died aged 31 this year, were both granted liberation hero status for their contributions in their trade.

Shaya, just like former First Lady Janet Banana who died recently, has mysteriously missed out on the honour.