Football mourns Eddie ‘Mboma’ Nyatanga . . . his death rekindles sweet football memories Eddie Nyatanga

Langton Nyakwenda-Sports Reporter

AS businessmen and the well-heeled were jostling for seats on a government-chartered Air Zimbabwe plane to Tunisia in January 2004, they were called to order by one Eddie “Mboma” Nyatanga. 

Zimbabwe had just secured a maiden ticket to the African Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia, the country was abuzz and almost every supporter wanted to go to the North African country. 

Thanks to Nyatanga’s coordination and facilitation, a chartered plane was arranged for fans to go and support the Warriors on this historic assignment. 

As expected, there was commotion at the airport. 

But Nyatanga intervened with his usual commanding voice. 

“Mese imimi ma businessmen hamuimbe, ana Taribo (the late Stanford Nhau) nana Romario (Chris Musekiwa) are the cheerleaders and will be the first on this charter flight,” Nyatanga thundered, and there was order. 

Musekiwa, who is now a very popular Warriors cheerleader, recalled this incident when news of Nyatanga’s death filtered across the country yesterday. 

Nyatanga developed lung complications and subsequently died at his house in Harare on Tuesday night, coincidentally a few hours after his beloved Warriors had succumbed to a 3-1 defeat against South Africa, in a 2026 World Cup qualifier. 

He was 63.

Regarded as the godfather of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association (ZNSSA), Nyatanga was also a kingmaker in Zimbabwean football politics. 

A larger-than-life character, Nyatanga was a founding member of the ZNSSA and a very key figure in coordinating activities for national team fans. 

“He developed some clots in his lungs and this caused him to suffocate,” his son Bruce, told Zimpapers Sports yesterday.

“Mourners are gathered at the family house in Borrowdale Brooke.” 

Nyatanga’s death has caused tremors across the football fraternity. 

“We are indeed devastated by the sad news,” Musekiwa, who is also the organising secretary for the ZNSSA, said. 

“Nyatanga had an unmatched passion for the beautiful game. He would call a spade a spade and he groomed us into leadership roles. 

“Mboma was a man of the people and an advisor who also helped so many people start their businesses. 

“He was the one who advocated for supporters to travel with the national team when the Warriors made their maiden appearance at the 2004 AFCON finals.” 

Nyatanga worked closely with the likes of Eddy “Styles” Masunda, who is now based in the United States of America.

“Football is an exciting game that can be fun and entertaining, and together with Mboma we took cheerleading to another level,” said Masunda, a former ZNSSA executive member. 

“It was because of Nyatanga that fans had the experience of boarding flights to watch games across the African continent. 

“Nyatanga is a hero and I am at a loss of words, to say the least. He was the heartbeat of football support in this country. 

“It’s sad he died at a time when Zimbabwe is now losing to the small nation Lesotho. 

“But, I am sure the good old days will be back, and we have to correct the wrongs in football in honour of people like Nyatanga,” added Masunda. 

Current ZNSSA president, Chama Mushamainza, chronicled how he met Nyatanga, before the late football stalwart handed over the baton to him. 

“We met way back during ZNSSA formation and we worked together until 2019 when he handed me the mandate to lead the association. 

“Even up to date, we would meet and exchange notes. He was a remarkable man in many ways,” said Mushamainza.

“His contribution was immense as he transformed the association to dizzy heights. 

“I am well aware of the difference he made in the lives of many football fans, coaches, players, and administrators at large.” 

Beitbridge-based football benefactor, Biggie “Big Cle” Mabhidhi, was on his way from the Warriors’ game in Bloemfontein when he heard about Nyatanga’s death. 

“This is painful, we have lost a brother and a mentor,” said Mabhidhi. 

“Nyatanga was very instrumental in the formation of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association. The nation has lost a football man.” 

Yadah FC owner, Walter Magaya, also paid tribute to Nyatanga, through the club’s Facebook page. 

“Prophet Walter Magaya, Yadah FC executive, technical bench, players, and supporters are deeply saddened by the untimely death of the founder of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters Association. 

“His astute ideas helped a long way in transforming the complexion of our football fraternity. Our thoughts are with the Nyatanga family in these difficult times.”

Popular Dynamos supporter, Tragic “Bambo” Dube, described the late Nyatanga as an efficient coordinator. 

“He was the orchestra of the supporters’ band. Everyone knows Nyatanga ndiye aiita kuti zvifambe when it came to the Warriors. 

“We have lost a coordinator, a friend, and a brother,” said Dube.

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