THE late Charles Yohane’s ex-teammate Stewart “Shutto” Murisa says justice should prevail following the killing of the former Zimbabwe international footballer by armed carjackers in South Africa.
Yohane, who had settled in South Africa for the past two decades, was shot dead in a carjacking incident that happened at the weekend.
He was 48-years-old.
As details continued to emerge, South Africa’s Kickoff magazine yesterday reported that his body was found in the Mzimhlophe Hostel in Soweto on Saturday evening with bullet wounds.
Residents near the hostel said they heard the gunshots. The body was taken to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in the early hours of Sunday.
Yohane’s car was recovered the following day. The car was spotted driving around Mzimhlophe for most of Sunday until it was recovered later in the day.
Yohane had been using the car for e-hailing service Bolt on a part-time basis after training sessions at the academy where he was coaching.
His brother, Lewis, also an ex-footballer, said Yohane was shot in the head. The case is now in the hands of the police.
Murisa, who played with Yohane in the national age-group teams before hooking up again at CAPS United, Wits University and AmaZulu in South Africa, said it was sad the former defender had to meet his fate in such tragic circumstances.
“I have known Charles for several years and to me he had become a close family. But one thing about Charles was that he was not a violent man. He was quite a reserved guy. How come he had to die in such violent circumstances?
“Whoever is behind this; these people are very cruel. They are inhumane. The worst they could have done probably they could just have taken whatever they wanted from him and spared his life, not this.
“I hope justice will prevail. The police should do a thorough job and bring these evil culprits to book,” said Murisa.
Yohane’s ex-teammate Innocent Chikoya and other Zimbabweans based in South Africa have been working closely with the authorities in that country to ensure the body is safely repatriated home for burial.
Details about the funeral arrangements were still sketchy yesterday but mourners are gathered at house number 30 Makiyoni Street in Mbare-National.
Born in a family of seven children in the high-density suburb of Mbare, Yohane came through the junior ranks of popular local club Dynamos before switching to Fire Batteries.
He was one of the several products of famed local junior development coach, Lloyd “Mablanyo” Chigowe.
Yohane came through Chigowe’s hands along with the likes of former Dynamos goalkeeper Tichaona Diya, Misheck Shava Mapika, Chamu Musanhu, Innocent Mbazo Musapenda, Hope Chihota, Ernest Chigama Masango, Mike Maringa, Gilbert Mushangazhike and Garikai Mukangairwa, to name a few.
His career took a definitive turn in 1989 when he was spotted by Lovemore “Gijima” Musindo who took him to his newly-established second Division side Zimbabwe Leopards (which later changed to Fire Batteries).
In fact, Musindo managed to lure a number of talented young players that also included Fanuel Kugara, Elwyn Mushangazhike, George Chambarara, Milton Mushambi, Lewis Kutinyu and Hussein Amidu.
“I can say Yohane was one of the founders of Zimbabwe Leopards in 1989. Most of these young players had teams they were playing for but they believed in the dream I sold them.
“Fire Batteries was born in 1990 and we were promoted to Division One. Then in 1993 we got promotion to the Premier Soccer League, where I was one of the founding members after breaking away from ZIFA.
“Yohane was among our early exports when I sold him to African Wanderers in Durban, South Africa. I am also the one who facilitated Maringa’s move to Kaizer Chiefs and then Kaitano Tembo to Seven Stars in Cape Town.
“Yohane was talented. We had loaned him to CAPS United before he moved to South Africa. It’s sad he is no longer with us,” said Musindo.
Yohane arrived in South Africa for the first time, along with Chikoya, in January 1995 when they signed for Gordon Igesund’s African Wanderers.
The defender briefly returned home and joined CAPS United on loan in 1996 and was part of the all-conquering Green Machine squad that went on to lift the Premiership title, under the late Steve “The Dude” Kwashi.
Unfortunately for Yohane, he could not stay long enough to celebrate the title as he had returned to South Africa mid-season to join AmaZulu at the recommendation of Mike Makaab. He had more stints with Bidvest Wits and AK FC.
Yohane, who had been based in South Africa for the past 25 years, played most of his professional football for the South African club Bidvest Wits. He holds the record for appearances at the club, after playing for them 268 times over a period stretching between 1997 to 2006.
At Wits he played alongside Murisa, Alois Bunjira as well as Elasto Kapowezha. He held the record for most appearances for Wits, having played for the club between 1997 and 2006, and clocking 268 appearances.
He later returned to the club and worked as development coach until the owners sold the franchise to Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila last year.
Bunjira, who was his room mate at Wits, yesterday said he was devastated by the defender’s death.
“I knew Yohane from way back and what has happened to him is beyond devastating. Personally, I cannot take it, it’s heart-breaking because I was very close to this guy. We played together in the national Under-20 and Under-23 teams and at CAPS United and in the senior national team.
“When I arrived at Wits, he was actually the one who had recommended the team’s management after he was asked about me. I wasn’t surprised he was doing well coaching youth teams, because he always talked about doing development,” said Bunjira.
Yohane was capped 23 times with the Warriors during the late 1990s and 2000s. He was part of the trailblazing group of Warriors that represented Zimbabwe at the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in 2004 in Tunisia.
He returned for the 2006 edition held in Egypt.
Following retirement from playing he had been working in Johannesburg as a football coach and a taxi driver. His body was found in Soweto on Sunday. South Africa-based former Zimbabwean footballer, Edelbert Dinha, said he became suspicious after Yohane’s phone became unreachable.
“We tried calling him from Saturday up to Monday, and we couldn’t reach him. Then I went to the police station.
“Charles was a quiet person, always smiling, he never argued with anyone. He was coaching Leruma United FC in the ABC Motsepe League,” he told the BBC.