SOMVUBU High School headmaster Khumbulani Sibanda thought he had saved a life when he responded to a sudden call for help to ferry a collapsed player to Mpilo Central Hospital using his personal car only to be told the devastating news that the 18-year-old promising star had long died when they arrived at the health institution.
The player was Mpopoma High School pupil Cedric Dube who at the time of his collapse was playing for Talen Vision in a Zifa Bulawayo province Division Three league match against Bulawayo City at Barbourfields Stadium’s outside grounds.
“Cedric was chasing the ball and he just fell and there were calls for me to assist carry the boy to the hospital since I was the only spectator with a car close by. I drove my car to the centre of the field and together with team manager Jacqualine Ngwenya and one Khulekani Siziba we carried the boy and put him in my car,” said Sibanda.
He said he quickly drove to Mpilo Central Hospital where upon arrival they asked for a stretcher as they frantically tried to save a young life.
“At that moment I was convinced the lad would soon be with us again. We were attended to by a female doctor with a Moyo surname and after a few moments, she came back with the most devastating news. She told us that she tried all she could but the boy was already dead when we put him on a stretcher from my car. Inyembezi zendoda ziphelela esifubeni but that day it wasn’t the case with me. It didn’t matter that the boy was not my relative as I was only a spectactor because of my love for the game but surely why would he die just like that. I thought of his peers, his parents who at that time knew nothing of the tragic turn of events,” said Sibanda.
He said Ngwenya later called Talen Vision bosses and the now deceased’s mother using his mobile phone since they had left theirs at the ground.
“I also could see sympathy in the eyes of the young doctor who probably thought she will be blamed for failing to save a life but it was clearly not her fault. The boy was gone and I was to later learn that he was also a student at Mpopoma High School and was their Under-20 captain,” said Sibanda.
Nicknamed Spoonky, Dube was recruited to the Highlanders Under-14 side by Dumaza Dube before crossing the floor to join Talen Vision. At the beginning of the year, he trained with the Bosso developmental side that is coached by Melusi Mabaleka Sibanda but his grandfather Caleb Sibanda advised him to stay in junior football for another year before he could further his football career. It was never to be.
Dube was laid to rest last Wednesday at Athlone Cemetery at a moving funeral attended by scores of people who included high profile soccer personalities and pupils from different schools.