HARARE – Former CAPS United and Triangle FC coach Gishon “Gizha” Ntini has died.
Ntini succumbed to prostate cancer early yesterday morning.
He was 42.
Mourners were gathered at number 4955 Glen Norah A in Harare yesterday and were expected to travel last night to Mhondoro Ngezi where his burial is set for today.
He leaves behind his wife Margaret and three children, two girls Mary, 15, and Blessing, 5, and son Gishon Jnr, 9.
Ntini’s elder sister Sophia Chiyangwa, 56, said the family had lost a father figure and pillar of strength.
“He has been sick in Botswana; we are told and he was hospitalised for two weeks there but none of the family members were aware of his admission,” she said.
“Upon his arrival, we took him to a local hospital and we were told to bring along a catheter but struggled to find one in Harare and later on got it in Kwekwe.
“Because his condition continued to deteriorate and in the absence of the catheter that was prescribed by the local hospital, we decided to take him to Karanda Mission Hospital in Mount Darwin.
“We arrived at the hospital around 10pm in the evening but, sadly, he passed away two hours later at midnight.”
A catheter is a flexible plastic tube inserted into the bladder that remains (“dwells”) there to provide continuous urinary drainage.
Ntini’s friend and football coach Denford Mutumbi said he was still in a state of shock.
“He texted informing me that he wasn’t feeling well and I asked him how serious he was and what his thoughts were. He didn’t respond then and after two days his phone went silent and I’m sure that could be the period he was admitted in hospital,” Mutumbi said.
“It was only until Saturday that I learnt he had arrived back from Botswana and relatives and friends decided to take him to Karanda but he didn’t last the distance.
“He was a talented coach; I remember him from our days in Beitbridge with Border Strikers, a fearless gaffer who was not afraid of speaking his mind.”
Former ZPC Kariba and CAPS coach Jostein Mambo Mathuthu described the late Ntini as an able mentor who nurtured many players at the Green Machine.
“At a tender age, I feel his journey has not been complete. I think I would compare him to Jose Mourinho, his vigour, his controversy that was much needed in the game made him stand out above the rest,” Mathuthu said.
“He was just an energetic coach and even those who have been running coaching courses can testify. It’s sad news for the football fraternity and the country as a whole.
“He was a brilliant mentor, especially if you look at what he did with players at CAPS such as Massett Zengeni, Oscar Machapa, Charles Manjera, Takesure Chiragwi, Lionel Mutizwa, Washington Pakamisa and Danger Fourpence to mention but a few.
“But I believe when it’s time for the Lord to pluck his own, we can’t resist; we just have to accept and continue with life in death.”
The Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (Fuz) also sent their condolences.
“We join the Zimbabwe football fraternity in mourning the death of former Triangle FC and CAPS United coach . . . Ntini. Our deepest condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace,” said Fuz in a statement.
The outspoken Ntini began his coaching career at CAPS were he was in charge of the juniors before he was elevated to role of assistant coach to Charles Mhlauri when United won back-to-back championships in 2004 and 2005.
Ntini briefly took over the reigns at United after Mhlauri left to join the national team. Ntini did not last as the Makepekepe head coach and left to join other clubs.
Upon leaving CAPS, Ntini also had stints with Black Rhinos, Shooting Stars, Triangle and Chiredzi FC.