Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter
FOOTBALL was plunged into mourning yesterday afternoon following the untimely death of Highlanders’ president Ndumiso Gumede after a short illness.
He was 76.
Born on October 14, 1945, the larger-than-life Gumede died at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo just after 3PM after suffering a stroke.
Family sources say he complained of some complications on Tuesday and was taken to hospital before returning home.
His condition deteriorated yesterday morning and he was rushed back to hospital and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) where all efforts to save him failed.
Highlanders’ patron Jimmy Ncube said he had learnt with disbelief the sudden passing Gumede.
“Ndumiso Gumede was a larger than life character and a football luminary whose contribution to the growth of football in general and Highlanders in particular can never be overemphasised.
“He was a natural leader and a teacher, a fountain of wisdom and knowledge,” said Ncube in a statement.
A football administrator par excellence, Gumede enrolled for a teacher training course at Gweru Teachers’ College from 1966 to 1968. While at college, he also trained as a football referee.
His first deployment after college was at Highfield Secondary School in the then Salisbury where he taught from 1969 to 1975.
While teaching at Highfield, Gumede started his leadership romance with Highlanders as the club’s representative in the capital in 1974.
He was then transferred to Mzilikazi Secondary School and was immediately incorporated into the Highlanders’ structures as a member of the finance committee.
Gumede first became the Highlanders’ chairman in 1978 at the age of 33, taking over from Landcut Gumbo while still teaching at Mzilikazi Secondary.
He served Bosso as chairman until Independence in 1980 when he was appointed by the then Minister of Sports, Youth and Recreation Joice Mujuru to the first ever Zifa board as a committee member under the presidency of Moroni Mushambadope.
Gumede was in independent Zimbabwe’s first Zifa board until 1983 when elections were held. He was so confident that he would retain his position, but lost and his position on the board was taken over by Gibson Homela.
He was so brokenhearted by his loss that he stayed away from football for the whole of 1984.
At the beginning of 1985, Malcolm King left his post as Highlanders chairman before the end of his two-year tenure, saying he had had enough of the troubles and problems at Bosso.
King’s term was supposed to run from 1984 to the end of 1985.
Bosso had no chairman and members asked Gumede to take over and complete King’s term, but he refused because he felt football had been unfair to him, as he was still going to work with the same people that had thrown him out of Zifa.
It took the intervention of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, who literally instructed Gumede to return to Highlanders and finish off King’s term as chairman.
And what a masterstroke by the late Vice-President, as Bosso went on to acquire the three properties they own to date; offices along Robert Mugabe Way and the camping house, popularly known as Hotel California, in Luveve in 1986 and the current clubhouse in 1987.
Before acquisition of the three properties, Highlanders were using a small room at Big Bhawa in Makokoba as their administrative office.
Gumede returned to Zifa as vice-president to the late Nelson Chirwa in 1987. In 1989 he stepped down as vice-president and ran for the Zifa secretary-general post, which he won until he moved to join his wife in Botswana in 1991.
Together with another Bosso legend Lawrence Phiri, Gumede helped transform Notwane into a professionally run club.
In 1998 he took over as head of the Zifa secretariat, but paid the price for supporting Vincent Pamire’s bid for the association’s presidency.
Gumede was to make another return to Zifa in 2010 as vice-president to Cuthbert Dube.
He left Zifa and made another return to Bosso as the club’s first chief executive officer in 2014 up to 2017 when he was replaced by another Bosso son Nhlanhla Dube.
He took over the Bosso presidency on April 16, 2019, a position he held until his untimely death yesterday.
Article Source: The Chronicle