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Two funerals for Eddie Nyatanga as wives fight over venue

Mourners gathered at two locations in Harare yesterday, amidst disputes over the funeral arrangements for Eddie “Mboma” Nyatanga.

Nyatanga, the founding father of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association, passed away on Tuesday at his home in Borrowdale Brooke from a suspected heart attack at the age of 63.

The controversy revolved around the appropriate venue for the funeral. Some mourners assembled in Borrowdale Brooke, where Nyatanga lived with his wife, Angeline. Meanwhile, others gathered in Mount Pleasant, where he lived with his first wife, Virginia.

“It seems Mboma wasn’t going to leave without some drama,” remarked one mourner. “He lived life to the fullest, and maybe it’s fitting that his departure is marked with this issue. But a resolution will be found, as the elders are addressing it.”

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It was later decided that Nyatanga would be buried at Glen Forest Cemetery, on the outskirts of Harare, on Sunday. According to reports, his body will lie in state at Borrowdale Brooke tonight and in Mount Pleasant tomorrow before the burial.

“Burial is confirmed for Sunday at Glen Forest,” said Nyatanga’s son, Bruce, to Zimpapers Sport. “We are currently gathered in Mount Pleasant, but the body will move to Borrowdale Brooke on Friday night, then to Mount Pleasant on Saturday.”

Yesterday, the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) expressed their condolences. “The Zimbabwe Football Association extends its heartfelt condolences to the entire Zimbabwe football community on the passing of Eddie Nyatanga, founding member of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association. Eddie was a larger-than-life personality and pivotal in rallying support for the Warriors. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.”

Fans and colleagues also mourned Nyatanga. “I am at a loss for words, go well Mudhara Mboma,” said Francis “Captain Franco,” a supporter of Makepekepe and the Warriors.

UK-based football writer Danai Chitakasha praised Nyatanga for his passion for the game. “May his soul rest in peace. He truly loved football,” said Chitakasha.

Francis Nyamutsamba, chairman of the Zimbabwe Football Stakeholders Forum, suggested that Nyatanga deserved a state-assisted funeral for his unifying role in Zimbabwean football. “As the former president of the Soccer Supporters Association, he was a unifier within both the football community and the nation. His contributions were immense and helped elevate the Warriors and the Mighty Warriors. Just six months ago, he donated 14 full sets of football uniforms to teams in the Highlands Area Zone, showcasing his benevolent character. He leaves us at a pivotal time for football’s transformation, and we will miss his counsel greatly.”- Zimcelebs

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