Ricky Zililo, Senior Sports Reporter
A tombstone unveiling for the late national team and Highlanders legend Mercedes “Rambo” Sibanda will be held at West Park Cemetery in Bulawayo tomorrow.
A granite tombstone, with a picture of the legendary defender, who died on September 3, 2002, at the age of 36, has been erected.
Former Highlanders player and coach Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu led the initiative to honour Sibanda after being approached by the late defender’s fan, who highlighted the neglect of the legend’s grave.
For Zulu, who worked with a number of Highlanders legends and former players, who include Netsai “Super” Moyo, raising funds to erect the tombstone for one of Zimbabwe’s illustrious football sons was fulfilling.
Zulu said he consulted Sibanda’s family before starting the process of mobilising resources for the tombstone.
“The programme will start at 10am led by Pastor Emmet Ndlovu (former Highlanders medic, team manager and secretary). After the unveiling of the tombstone, we will head home where we will have speeches from dignitaries.
“We will have addresses from the Minister of State for Bulawayo Province, uMama Judith Ncube, the mayor of Bulawayo Solomon Mguni, Highlanders president (Ndumiso Gumede), players’ association members and Tshinga Dube,” said Zulu.
He thanked retired footballers for uniting and contributing towards Sibanda’s tombstone. Zimbabwe Football Stakeholders Forum, led by Francis Zimunya, also played a role in fundraising for the tombstone.
The 1987 Soccer Star of the Year is regarded as the best ever right-back for both club and country. He also had stints with Blackpool after leaving Highlanders during a painful, but necessary rebuilding exercise by then coach Madinda Ndlovu in the late 90s.