President Emmerson Mnangagwa says he is distressed by the passing Wednesday, of legendary sports administrator and Highlanders Football Club president Ndumiso Gumede.
A larger than life and multi-talented character, Gumede died – aged 75 – of kidney ailment in Bulawayo with his passing inviting deep sympathy from the football fraternity and politicians alike.
In a condolence message to the Gumede family and the entire sporting fraternity Thursday, Mnangagwa said he was going to miss the hilarious former teacher and actor.
“I received with grief and sadness news of the tragic and unexpected demise yesterday of Cde Ndumiso Gumede after a short illness,” Mnangagwa said.
“A sports administrator of distinction and a veteran teacher, the late Cde Gumede will be remembered by many for transforming the popular game of football through his competent leadership and professional administration of the iconic Highlanders Club, and when he served on the ZIFA Board soon after our independence.
“As its chairman and President, Highlanders Football Club scaled to higher heights, transforming into a household name it is to this day.”
Mnangagwa said Gumede turned the sporting profession into a cultural carnival.
“Above all, his strong African roots turned professional sporting into a cultural carnival for which football fans will miss him solely.
“Always genial and full of jokes, the late Cde Gumede ensured integrity and professionalism in a game which is often mired in controversies of corrupt match-fixing and related ills. Those of us wedded to the game will miss him, keenly feeling the yawning gap he leaves behind.
“On behalf of Government, the football fraternity and on my own behalf, I wish to express my deepest condolences to the Gumede Family on this their saddest, unexpected loss.
“May they continue to draw inspiration from the late departed’s meritorious sacrifice to his country, his people, and to the sporting discipline of football.
“May his dear soul rest in eternal peace.”