Amemorable and touching event happened last week on Saturday in the high density suburb of Glen Norah in the capital, when the Tabernacle of Worship Family Ministries International led by Bishop Rodgers Jefrey invited gospel legend, Baba Mechanic Manyeruke, to headline a fundraising event in honour of another legend, the iconic footballer, George “Mastermind” Shaya.
gospel music sermon with The Master
Speaking at the George Shaya Solidarity Prayer Day held at Glen Norah grounds last week on Saturday, Jefrey said this was part of the church’s philanthropic work.
Even though I was in the vicinity on the day, I was not able to attend the event due to family commitments but my colleague, photo-journalist Aaron Ufumeli was there and said more than 2 000 people were in attendance.
The crowd was kept entertained by gospel musicians Manyeruke and Mathias Mhere, as well as Zimdancehall sensation Killer T.
The local business community was represented by past president of the Zimbabwe Medical Association Billy Rigava, who is also owner of Rigava Medical Services and the proprietor of Ruvimbo Funeral Assurance Edward Gomba.
Legendary football commentator Charles Mabika, who also graced the event, added his voice in acknowledging Shaya’s attributes as a player, describing the Mastermind as the finest soccer player to have played in Zimbabwe.
Speaker after speaker, according to Ufumeli, spoke glowingly about Shaya, who has been unwell since 2015 after he was laid off by his former employer, Toyota Zimbabwe.
Shaya’s wife, Agnes said she was left with no option but to fend for the family at a time when Dynamos — the team Shaya contributed to as a player and administrator — had turned its back on him.
It was also against this background that the proprietor of Gomba took it upon himself to donate groceries for the whole year to the Shaya family.
Shaya was offered free medical care for life at any of the following medical facilities owned by Rigava comprising Glen Norah A Medical Clinic at Spacemen shops in the locality, as well as another clinic in Glen View 3 and Africa House Medical Centre in the city centre.
Jefrey said the event would not have been possible without the assistance of Bachelors Republic who paid for the stage, logistics and clothed Shaya and all the other musicians.
A former Dynamos and the then Rhodesia national team player, Shaya made history of being a soccer star for five years, a feat never to be eclipsed and that was in 1969, 1972, 1974, 1975 and 1977.
He also made history by leading DeMbare to their first and only Champions League final appearance, a feat that has not been reached by any other local team.
What they said:
“We sat down as a ministry and said charity begins at home. We want to remove this notion that the church is always taking from people.
“The church plays a pivotal role in giving and we got to appreciate a person while he is still alive.”
“I regard George Shaya as the finest soccer player to have played in Zimbabwe. He was a gentleman on and off the field. Shaya was never cautioned in his entire career.”
“I am at a loss of words. I thank God and this should not be done to us only but to all the soccer players because these players enjoy today but tomorrow they are reduced to destitution after retirement.”
“I have been in the community from 1993, offering private medical care. I value contributions from icons in the community like the Mastermind. His plight, following all his achievements, touched our hearts. We felt we should give back to the community in a way we know best, offering free medical care for life at all our facilities. We approached the family through Bishop Jeff who had highlighted Shaya’s plight. An agreement was reached.