By Nokuthaba Dlamini
A former Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) Hwange football player is suspected to have drowned on Thursday afternoon in the Zambezi River where he had gone on a swimming expedition with his three friends.
ZPC Hwange is part of the Southern Region Division One Soccer League.
Matabeleland North police spokesperson chief Inspector Siphiwe Makonese confirmed the disappearance of Thamsanqa Ncube (22) popularly known as Madamara in football circles and Elsewet Mathe (24) both from Chinotimba High density suburb who were in the company of two of their friends, Lucas Sibanda (22) and Brian Dlamini (25).
“They went for swimming at gorge number 6 yesterday afternoon, and according to the two survivors Sibanda and Dlamini, a strong wave of water appeared towards their direction at approximately 15:40 PM and they all ran towards the river bank to seek refuge,” Makonese narrated.
“Sibanda and Dlamini waited for several minutes hoping that their other two friends would appear and unfortunately to no avail until they decided to go and report to their families and police. The search was immediately launched to no avail and that is when we decided to rope in tourism companies to assist with the search and so far there is no sign of them.”
A tourism official Lovemore Ndlovu from Bonnaise Air flights said they have been searching for the pair and so far they have not located them.
“We started the search at exactly 11:07 AM and we flew from gorge number six where they disappeared from and passed through gorge number five, 15 and 13 and we could not locate them,” Ndlovu said.
“We flew higher throughout the falls and on the Zambian side we only identified people that were fishing. While we were conducting the air search, there were other various rafters who were searching from underneath and two kayakers. We suspect that they are still trapped under water by the rocks and tomorrow we might be able to find them.”
Mehluli Moyo, an official from Tigers Football Club which Ncube used to turn out for, said the young footballer had a promising career.
“He started playing as a junior from ward level and joined us in season 2016/17 where he played as a left back defender before he was sold to ZPC where he played for two seasons (2018-19),” said Moyo
“Early this year he went for trials at Bulawayo Chiefs and recently their coach phoned me telling me that he was impressed with his style of defending and was considering buying him from ZPC and send him out on loan as he already had two left backs, so this tragedy is very catastrophic to the soccer fraternity because his aim was to be an international player.”
Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Makonese said a team from the police sub aqua unit had been dispatched from Bulawayo to assist with the search.