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Football Mourns Lovemore Murirwa

KOKETSO KGOBOGE
Lovemore Murirwa died in a car crash on Friday PIC: KENNEDY RAMOKONE
PALAPYE: A dark cloud has descended on the football fraternity following devastating news on Friday of the untimely death of Sua Flamingoes attacker, Lovemore 'Sattar' Murirwa, 29 who perished in a traffic mishap.

‘Sattar’ and three of his teammates were travelling from Francistown to Sowa Town where their team is based. The players had gone shopping and were returning for training when the accident happened about three kilometres from Sowa. According to reports, when the car had a tyre burst, the driver lost control of the car that veered off the road and hit a Mophane tree.

With the shocking look at the pictures of the remains of the car, three others escaped the terrible accident. Two players, Alfred Mopiki and Ogopotse Tshule were still admitted at the Nyangabgwe Referral Hospital’s intensive care unit at the time of writing.

Mopiki was admitted with head and chest injuries and a broken shoulder, while Tshule has broken both of his legs. Nwako Ramokgadi was treated for minor injuries at the local clinic in Sowa and released on the day of the accident.

The club chairperson, Rebagamang Sekgekge confirmed the developments, revealing that Tshule was recovering well and he was now able to communicate properly while Mopiki was still very seriously ill.

Sekgekge said the traumatic passing of Sattar has seriously affected his team.  He said the players went through counselling yesterday and another session was scheduled today.  He said the whole team, including the management and the supporters would also go through counselling.

“We are going through a difficult patch and we are praying everyday for the other players that are still admitted.

“We are going through counselling sessions to get everyone to admit this traumatic situation. We are crying everyday so that we can find peace and move on,” he said.

Murirwa’s former coach at Calendar Stars, Boipuso Manyalo said his team was devastated at the news. He said Murirwa was pivotal and he had a great influence on his side. He said when the player arrived from Orapa United, he made it clear to him that he intended to return to the premiership and they had an agreement that they will release him whenever an offer came along. Manyalo said ‘Sattar’ showed great leadership as the only experienced player in his squad. He said the deceased left them at position five when he went to join Flamingoes and was the league’s top scorer with 10 goals for Calendar. “He led the younger players and he scored our first league goal in our first game. He influenced the younger players and they had belief in him.

“He became part of our family so much that his two younger brothers are playing for our team.He was a true friend and we are devastated,” Manyalo said.

His former teammate at ECCO City Greens and Orapa United, Olekantse Mambo said he was shocked when he heard of Sattar’s

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passing.

He said his teammates at United were equally shocked. He said Sattar was an easy person that helped a number of players settle in new environments.

“It was difficult when the news broke. Everyone was devastated and we just had to be strong to play our game. Sattar was a very friendly guy that helped a lot of players to adjust at ECCO and here in Orapa.

He was an easy person to get used to. I pass my heartfelt condolences to his family,” he said.

‘Sattar’ kick started his football career at the tender age of eight years while a pupil at Tatitown Primary School.   He turned up for the school’s Under-12 side and he promptly showed his prowess.

He banged the goals and claimed a top goal scorer in the school’s competition and he won a couple of medals at the primary school. He was selected for a team that represented the dominant Great North Region at the Botswana Games in 2009.

He helped the region to a runners-up finish and he earned himself a national Under-15 call up.

He started playing league football at Marapong Highlanders briefly before he joined Tonota Football Club. With his potent left foot, he was quickly identified by TAFIC. He turned up for Matjimenyenga in the 2009-2010 season before he moved to Lobatse to join BMC in the top-flight league.  His stay was also short-lived as he returned to his native northern city to join ECCO City Greens.

His career blossomed at Mamojadiski alongside the likes of Patrick Lenyeletse, Tendai Nyumasi and Olekantse Mambo. He left his colleagues when the blue giants of Mma Masire called.

Sattar joined Township Rollers in 2012 and played for three seasons until 2014.

He won many accolades at Rollers that included the league and charity cups. He also earned himself two national team call-ups. His career took a dip under the tutelage of Madinda Ndlovu. He moved to Orapa United in 2014 and his fortunes were dealt a blow as Madinda also followed him.  He found it difficult to break into Madinda’s squad and in 2016 he was consequently released.

He joined first division north rookies, Calendar Stars to revive his career. When the odds were against him, he carried Stars on his shoulders and banged in goals.

He led the rookies to a top eight finish in the first round of the league and Flamingoes took notice.

In the January window, the Sowa Town-based outfit lured Sattar to the Soda Ash mining town.

He contributed goals to help the club into the promotional playoffs where his club was marginally defeated to promotion by Prisons XI.



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