The Herald (Zimbabwe)

Football mourns goalkeeper Chigova


Blessing Malinganiz­a in BUTARE, Rwanda and Eddie Chikamhi in Harare

THE Zimbabwe football community yesterday paid tribute to former Warriors, Dynamos and Gunners goalkeeper George Chigova who died in South Africa yesterday.

A product of the Aces Youth Soccer Academy, Chigova was 32.

Chigova, who had been at SuperSport United in the South African Premiershi­p, collapsed and died at his South African home.

He was diagnosed with a heart ailment but after a lengthy lay off he had recently returned to training.

He had been asked to take a break from the game — with everything pointing to an early retirement — at SuperSport United after an incident during the off-season preparatio­ns.

News of Chigova’s death reached the Warriors as they prepared to take to the field against Rwanda in a 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifier in Rwanda.

Warriors vice-captain Marshall Munetsi said Chigova’s death came as a shock to the team.“We want to pass our condolence­s to the Chigova family, the football fraternity, the friends, his brothers and sisters.

“It was something that shocked us because we heard about it just before the game and it affected us,”Munetsi told Zimpapers Sports.

“For some of us who played with him it is difficult to comprehend. He was a big brother to us, we share some good memories, so it’s tough but we have to take it.

“We just pray for him and his family and friends,” added Munetsi.

Chigova died at the age of 32, having also featured for Dynamos and Polokwane City.

“We were pained by Chigova’s death which came at a time we are returning to the internatio­nal fold after the FIFA suspension,” added Munetsi.

Zifa yesterday paid tribute to Chigova. “The Zimbabwe Football Associatio­n (ZIFA) mourns the passing of former Warriors goalkeeper George Chigova.

Chigova, affectiona­tely known as“Jojola,” played a pivotal role in Zimbabwean football, representi­ng the Warriors with distinctio­n at various internatio­nal tournament­s, including the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.

“His sudden passing has left a void in the hearts of football fans and the Zimbabwean sporting community.

“We extend our heartfelt condolence­s to Chigova’s family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time.

“His contributi­ons to Zimbabwean football will not be forgotten.

“May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace,”read a statement from Zifa. The Premier Soccer League said: “We are saddened by the untimely passing of former Warriors and Dynamos star, George Chigova.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Chigova family and friends during this difficult time.

“May his soul rest in peace.” Dynamos chief executive, Jonathan Mashingaid­ze said a dark cloud hung over the nation. “This is a great loss to Zimbabwean football. A former national team goalkeeper and moreso a Dynamos son who served the club and his nation with distinctio­n.

“He was top talent and he even demonstrat­ed that when he moved to South Africa where he played for almost 10 years before his untimely death.

“As Dynamos, we mourn with his family and Zimbabwe at large. This has been a terrible month for us because only last week we lost revered former Zimbabwe star and ex-national team coach Rahman Gumbo. We are bound to ask why but we cannot get any answers, only God knows.

“Hopefully, these two football icons will get the respect they deserve. It’s imperative that all leagues observe a minute of silence this weekend in honour and memory of the late Chigova and our Dream Team star Rahman Gumbo. ZIFA and PSL should enforce the observance of this ritual,”said Mashingaid­ze.

Chigova won two league titles and a pair of Mbada Diamond Cup titles during one of DeMbare’s most successful periods in the last decade, when they won four league titles in succession under Callisto Pasuwa.

He moved to South Africa in 2014 to join SuperSport and after one season he joined Polokwane City where he got generous game time and featured in over 100 games for the club before retracing his footsteps back to SuperSport in 2020.

Sadly, Chigova’s health troubles were first confirmed when he collapsed while training with his club four month ago. He took a bit of time off the game before returning to training last month.

SuperSport United yesterday said they were saddened by the tragic turn of events.

“It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the passing of former SuperSport United player, George Chigova,” the club said in a statement.

“George had two stints with the club, having joined us in 2014 from Dynamos in Zimbabwe. He rejoined SuperSport in 2020 after having played for Polokwane City from 2015.

“While he just started seven games for the club, he formed a great backup and training partner for the likes of Ronwen Williams, Ricardo Goss and Boalefa Pule. He also represente­d his country, Zimbabwe, making 32 appearance­s.

“George was a great club man, a gentle giant loved by current and former players and everyone at the club. Even though his official time with SuperSport United ended in June 2023, he was a regular visitor to the training ground and stadium to support the team.“We convey our deepest condolence­s to his family and friends both in South Africa and in Zimbabwe during this difficult and very sad time. May his soul rest in peace,” said SuperSport in a statement.

The Footballer­s Union of Zimbabwe said Chigova was a great asset for Zimbabwe during his prime, making 32 appearance­s for the Warriors.“As a player and as a person, George was one of the best in the game.

“A defining figure for club and country, he was — and he will remain — a true legend of our game,” said FUZ in a statement.

The local football fraternity was left in shock yesterday and condolence messages poured in from every direction.

Newly-crowned champions Ngezi Platinum Stars also joined the nation in mourning the late goalkeeper.

“Ngezi Platinum Stars Football Club is extremely saddened by the passing of SuperSport United goalkeeper, former Warriors and Dynamos player George Chigova. Our heartfelt condolence­s go out to his family and friends,” said Ngezi Platinum Stars.

Four-time champions FC Platinum also expressed their sorrow.

“The FC Platinum Family joins the entire football fraternity in mourning the passing of a great football star George Chigova. Sending thoughts and prayers to the Chigova family during this difficult time.

“He will always be remembered as one of the greatest goalkeeper­s in our country. Rest in peace, King Jojola,”said a statement from FC Platinum.

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George Chigova

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