Lovemore Dube Senior Sports Editor
LEGENDARY Highlanders FC and Zimbabwe attacking midfielder Tymon Mabaleka has died. He was 64. His younger brother Morgan confirmed last night that Tymon passed on yesterday morning in Harare. “He went to work as usual on Thursday morning but later said he felt feverish. His colleagues took him home and on arrival his wife Josephine rushed him to the Avenues Clinic,” said Morgan.
He said when his elder brother Israel phoned yesterday to check on Tymon he was told he had died.
Morgan said Tymon’s death was a terrible blow to the family.
He said Tymon was the the second born in a family of nine made up of six boys and three girls.
Tymon was born in Nswazi in Umzingwane District and attended Losikeyi Primary School in Bulawayo.
He attended Mpopoma High school and later moved to Mzilikazi High School.
Tymon begun his illustrious career at Eastlands before moving to Highlanders in 1973.
That season is considered as the turning point for the once docile giant in semi-professional football. Bosso who had been promoted back to the elite league after topping the lower division in 1972 following their demotion in 1971 when they finished with a paltry seven points, relied on the brilliance of players like Tymon to assert themselves as one of Zimbabwe’s top sides.
With Tymon in the thick of things alongside Cavin Duberly, Lawrence Phiri, Billy Sibanda, Edward Dzowa, Kenny Luphahla, Mike Mpofu, Peter Bhebhe, Ananias Dube, Josiah Nxumalo and Boet Van Ays, Highlanders won their first major title – the 1973 Chibuku Trophy and regional title.
They were to win two more league titles in 1974 and 1975 before allegedly being cheated out of the 1976 national league.
Consequences of that campaign saw some disgruntled players leave to form Olympics but Whitehorse, as Tymon was affectionately known, remained.
He was a key figure of the South Zone Select when Highlanders opted to form the South Zone Soccer League.
Tymon was called up to the national team several times and finally hung up his boots in 1982 when he transferred to Harare.
He is one of the country’s most revered music producers having done works for Oliver M’tukudzi, James Chimombe, Lovemore Majaivana and Solomon S’kuza and the Fallen Heroes under Gallo later known as Zimbabwe Music Corporation’s Kudzanayi label.
As a footballer Tymon was regarded among the best controllers of the ball with his chest and with guided headers.
A former teammate Lawrence Phiri from Gaborone, Botswana was at loss of words yesterday. “Honestly it has come as a shock to me, I still can’t believe that it’s true. We played together and I have so many happy memories about him,” said Phiri who played with Tymon for almost a decade.
Another teammate who played with him for two seasons 1973 and 1974 Nehemiah “Dick Den” Dube said; “Our coach Jiji used Tymon for demonstrations on chest control and would say why don’t you do it like Tymon. Even on controlled headers he was simple the best. May his soul rest in peace.”
Cosmas Zulu who played with him at Eastlands described him as a gentleman who understood his teammates.
“He was a gentleman on the field and off it, if you erred he would correct you in a humane and sporting manner. I enjoyed playing with him, he was a joy to play alongside with. I played with him at Eastlands and later at Highlanders.
“Chest control, heading and volleys were his trade mark features on the field. Our condolences to the family,” said Zulu.
Highlanders chairman Peter Dube said as a club they were saddened by the loss of the legend and they would as a club issue a statement soon through the board.
“It’s an understatement to say we have lost a former player, he is a true legend of the club, we will as a club issue a statement through the elders,” said Dube.