GOVERNMENT has turned down a request by Zifa to have the late Dynamos and national team legend David ‘Yogi’ Mandigora declared a national hero.
Zifa had said Mandigora, who died at the age of 64 last month, had a huge impact on the face of local football from the colonial days when the game was used to challenge colonial rule.
He also led his boyhood club Dynamos to league glory in 2007 and the Caf Champions League semi-finals in 2008 as a coach in addition to being independent Zimbabwe’s first Soccer Star of the Year in 1980.
The Government said conferring Mandigora with national hero status on the basis of such achievements would have set an unachievable precedence because a number of footballers walked the same road and achieved the same accolades as the late Mandigora.
Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Ministry deputy director Ignatious Vambe told Chronicle Sport that the national hero request did not pass on the basis that “it would have opened up a lot of issues, especially from the sporting fraternity in general and football in particular because a lot of other footballers achieved the same feat and once one was accorded such a status, it automatically meant every other football had to be given the same status”.
“That would have created a big problem for us. What, however, was agreed was to come up with a criterion targeting sportspersons and it was felt that using what was given for Mandigora would not be enough, but would instead create problems in future,” said Vambe.
No sportsperson has ever been conferred national hero status in Zimbabwe.
In 2012, the political leadership from Matabeleland requested national hero status for the late Highlanders and national team legend Adam Ndlovu, but the request was turned down.