Former Zimbabwe Warriors goalkeeper George Chigova died in his sleep in his Gauteng home in South Africa and his family has shared the heartbreaking news of what happened just moments before his sleep.
Chigova, who was 32, had been on the bench at his South African Premiership side, SuperSport United, because of a heart condition.
Upon checking on him, his wife found no response when she tried to wake him. Worried, she promptly called an ambulance. Sadly, when the ambulance arrived, the personnel delivered the heartbreaking news that George Chigova had passed away.
“He woke up today and even walked around his house before saying he wanted to return to sleep,” said a relative.
“Nothing, I am told, looked suspicious although concern started to rise when he appeared to have slept longer than usual.
“His wife (Nokhu) then went to check up on him and when she shook him, there was no response and that was when she called the ambulance services.
“They came and they told them that he was gone, just like that, and it’s like a horror show. One can only think about the trauma that Nokhu is going through and then there are those two young kids, it’s a nightmare.
“This was a young and closely-knit family.”
ZIFA released a message which read:
“The Zimbabwe Football Association mourns the passing on 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 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.”
Ironically, Chigova died on the very day his beloved Warriors marked their return to international football with a World Cup qualifier against Rwanda. Prior to the start of this season, it was confirmed that the Zimbabwean’s career was hanging in doubt after being diagnosed with a heart ailment.
Indications were that Chigova would be forced to retire but returned to training in October.
The imposing goalkeeper shared pictures making a return to training on his Facebook page alongside a bible verse.
“Ask, and it shall be given, seek, and you shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you (Mathew 7:7),” read the verse.
SuperSport United released a statement in which they said:
“It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the passing of former SuperSport United player, George Chigova.
“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 player 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.”