The Queen is dead, God save the King CROWNING MOMENT . . . Queen Elizabeth hands over the World Cup to England skipper Bobby Moore at Wembley in 1966 after the Three Lions beat the Germans

Sharuko On Saturday

ON Thursday, the Queen died – bringing the curtain down on the second Elizabethan era, in which she ruled, longer than any other monarch, in British history.

Her final duty, of her seven decades of public service, was to pass the British Premiership baton to Liz Truss, on Tuesday, just two days before her death.

The baton was passed at Balmoral Castle, in Aberdeenshire, for the first time, during Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, rather than at Buckingham Palace.

Her longevity is probably reflected in the reality that 15 British Prime Ministers – from wartime hero Winston Churchill to Liz Truss – have gone into 10 Downing Street, under her watch.

Two hundred and ninety years have passed since King George II offered Robert Walpole, the first Earl of Orford, the use of Number 10 Downing Street.

Walpole is considered by some as the de facto first Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Churchill was Queen Elizabeth II’s first Prime Minister, when he returned to office, on October 26, 1951.

Truss was her last Prime Minister.

It’s worth noting that the difference between the date of Truss’ birth, July 16, 1975, and Churchill’s date of birth, November 30, 1874, was 101 years.

That both served as Prime Ministers, under the Queen’s watch, is significant and a reminder of the historic longevity of her time as head of the British monarch.

Her death came exactly 75 years after she married Philip Mountbatten, a former Prince of Greece and Denmark, in 1947.

It also came exactly 70 years after the death of her father, King George VI, which ushered her, at the young age of 85, into becoming the Queen.

Yesterday, for the first time in 70 years, the world woke up, without Queen Elizabeth II sitting on the British throne.

I’m not sure whether we should mourn the passing on of a Queen who was quite loved, across the world, or we should just celebrate that she lived quite a very long life.

It’s not for me to decide!

As fate would have it, the Queen’s death came exactly 20 years after the only moment in my life, I had the privilege to be in the same stadium, with her, in the city, which is the home of my favourite football club.

The only regret was that it was at the City of Manchester Stadium which, with the passage of time, would transform itself into the Etihad, the stadium which is now the home of a bullish, and dominant, new millennium Manchester City.

That’s where, on July 25, 2002, Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Commonwealth Games, which attracted 5000 athletes, from 72 English-speaking countries.

Even though this wasn’t Old Trafford, there was a familiar reassuring presence, from my Red Devils, in the form of David Beckham, who was then the England captain.

He helped Kirsty Howard, a terminally ill six-year-old, who was the chaperone Queen’s Baton final runner, to hand over the baton to the Queen.

Kirsty had a serious congenital heart defect, her heart was back to front, and this caused her internal organs to be misplaced.

Doctors claimed it was such a rare condition it affected just one in 60 million people in the world and she had to undergo nine heart surgeries and 11 operations, all in all, which she remarkably survived.

Three years earlier, in February 1999, doctors had declared she had just six weeks to live.

But, being a defiant fighter, like the Queen herself, she lived to be part of the 2002 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony show.

On October 24, 2015, just a month after turning 20, Kirsty died.

Ironically, the 2002 Commonwealth Games, which gave Kirsty a global profile, also gave us another Kirsty, who exploded on the big stage, with gold in the 200m Individual Medley, en-route to becoming Africa’s most decorated Olympian.

I’m a son of the monarchy.

Not the British one, but the all-powerful Ngoni one — from Zwangendaba ke Zuguda Jele to Mpezeni — the great people who made the 1600km trek, lasting more than 20 years, from KwaZulu Natal to the southern parts of Tanzania and eastern parts of Zambia.

I’m a proud Warrior!

1926 WAS A SPECIAL YEAR, BOSSO WERE ESTABLISHED

Queen Elizabeth II was said to have been a fan of Arsenal, according to the Sun newspaper, even though others claim she was a West Ham supporter.

What isn’t disputable is that her grandson, William, the one who shall be King, when the reign of his father, King Charles III comes to an end, is a football fan and a supporter of Aston Villa.

His support of Villa connects us to him because, in a way, he is a fan of one of our top players, Marvelous Nakamba, who is on the payroll of the Birmingham club.

The Queen was born in 1926, the same year that Highlanders were established, ironically by our monarchy, the grandsons of King Lobengula — Rhodes Lobengula Khumalo and Albert Njube Lobengula Khumalo.

That year, Juventus, a club whose primary black-and-white identity makes them the closest Italian football institution to Bosso, won the Serie A title.

It was the year Alfredo Di Stefano, considered by some as the finest footballer of all-time, was also born in Argentina, before coming to Europe to become an immortal at Juventus, who even has the training stadium named after him.

It was also the year Alcides Ghiggia was born, across the River Plate, in Uruguay.

Ghiggia was the player whose winner powered Uruguay to that 2-1 win over Brazil, in what is known as the Maracazano, to win the 1950 World Cup, at the Maracana.

He died on July 16, 2015, in Montevideo at the age of 88.

Ghiggia was the last member of both the Brazilian or Uruguayan squads, who were involved in that historic 1950 World Cup game, to die. His death came on the 65th anniversary of the very day he scored that golden goal to win the World Cup, for Uruguay.

But, for the last three decades or so, the number 96 has largely been associated with TRAGEDY, the worst to hit football in the Queen’s homeland.

On April 15, 1989, the world watched in disbelief as a tragedy at Hillsborough, during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest, consumed the lives of scores of fans.

By the time the counting of the dead had ended, 96 Liverpool fans were dead and scores of others injured in ways in which their lives would never be the same again.

For us, there was an immediate connection to this tragedy because one of our own, goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, was the one in goals for Liverpool.

He was the closest player to the Leppings Lane, the stand where the human crush occurred and, in recent years, he has spoken about the horror he endured.

“For two hours on the journey back home we just listened to the radio,” Grobbelaar later told BBC Sport.

“Every 10, 15 minutes we would hear an update — 20 deaths, 25 deaths. When it got to 30 deaths we switched off the radio — we couldn’t listen to any more.

Bruce would later realise that some of their fans, who lost their loved ones, even blamed them for the disaster.

 “I went to see a family in Birkenhead,” he recalled.

“I knocked on the door, it opened and they told me I was the guy who killed their son. And, they closed the door. Their son went to watch me play, watch us play – they blamed me.

“Then, I knocked on the door again and they said ‘no, go away,’ and I got sworn at.

“But I didn’t go anywhere. I knocked on the door again. And then we started talking. I realised they held me responsible, in some way.”

Last year, it was revealed that a 97th Liverpool fan, Andrew Devine, died from the injuries he suffered at Hillsborough.

He was 55 at the time of his death.

This means there will be changes to the number 96, which has appeared on the Liverpool jerseys, ever since Hillsborough.

While Arsenal and West Ham have been mentioned, as the possible favourite clubs, for Queen Elizabeth and Villa are the favourite club for Prince William, it’s difficult to link British royalty with Liverpool.

After all, by and large, anti-establishment feelings run very high in the city of Liverpool and there have been occasions when the Reds fans have booed the British national anthem.

This was the case at Wembley, in May this year, during the FA Cup final between Liverpool and Chelsea, which the Reds won on penalties.

In an article in The Independent, writer Tony Evans spoke at length about what fuels the hostility towards the anthem and the anti-monarchical stance among some of the Liverpool fans.

 “I have never known the Liverpool crowd to be as political as they have been over the past few seasons,” he said.

“There is a beautiful banner that only comes out now and then. It goes near enough end to end in the Kop and it reads — ‘WE ARE NOT ENGLISH, WE ARE SCOUSE.’

“And, that sensibility is tied in with booing the monarchy and the national anthem. You can hear them booing the monarchy in 1986, when Liverpool played Everton in the Cup final.”

When The Sun newspaper published false and damaging claims that some Liverpool fans were urinating on bodies and stealing from the pockets of those who died at Hillsborough, there was a sense on Merseyside that this was the feeling of the British establishment.

They turned their back on The Sun and, 33 years on, emotions still run high on Merseyside.

THE NIGHT THEY TRIED TO TAKE MY FRIEND

In a dark way, it has been quite a disturbing week, not only in the United Kingdom but also here at home, with death, somehow, being the dominant theme.

After all, this was also the week that we woke up to the FAKE news that the King of the football journalism fraternity in this country, the legendary Charles “CNN” Mabika, had ‘died’ at his home in Harare.

No sooner had the message being posted, online, that my mobile phone went on steroids, ringing endlessly, as the calls came from all corners of the globe.

I was still in bed but it became very clear to me, in those hours of the day, that everything had changed and, at this moment, sleep was a luxury I could just not afford.

The questions just kept flooding – why CNN, why Charlie, why my guy, why my friend, why my Game Plan fellow, why my brother?

Surely, not in the year that he had been inducted into the Sports journalists Hall of Fame, to fittingly acknowledge and celebrate the story of a man who rose from the streets of Mbare and transformed himself into a legend of local football.

The man whose golden voice became a part of our football, whose melodies provided the game with its beautiful soundtrack and whose powerful rhythms shaped the careers, and profiles, of some of our finest players.

I will tell you right now, without any shadow of doubt, that Charles Mabika is probably the finest human being one can ever meet — a man who is allergic to jealousy, a proud father, a loving husband and a great fan of the Warriors.

I have had my fair share of personal tragedies.

In a way, hearing the so-called CNN death, while I was still in my bed, brought back memories of that dark day when the doctor called to tell me that my beloved wife, Florence, had passed away at Avenues Clinic.

So, after summoning some courage, I called CNN and, when the call didn’t go through, I really got very concerned.

However, I kept trying and when, eventually, there was a connection, the voice on the other side of the line was a refreshing reminder that the great CNN was still alive.

It brought amazing relief but still the BIG question remained – WHY?

Why would someone go online, without any confirmation, and come up with such a story about the ‘death’ of someone who was alive?

What if his mother had, in that moment of receiving such devastating news, collapsed and, in that moment, we had lost her?

His sister collapsed and, just as well, she was resuscitated and lived to tell her story.

So, in that moment of relief, I decided to do a version of a song, which was different from the one they wanted us to sing, in their fake notice of death.

Theirs was ‘Missing You,’ which P. Diddy did for the Notorious B.I.G after his friend was gunned down on March 9, 1997, in Los Angeles.

Mine was ‘Having You,’ which I did this week for my all-weather friend, CNN.

 ‘Since yesterday, we are still rocking the show, I still lace the track, you lock the flow.

‘Life ain’t always what it seems to be, words can’t express what you mean to me.

‘Thank God, you’re not gone, we are still a team.

‘Through your knowledge, we will fulfil our dreams.

‘In the future, I can’t wait to see, if you will open up the gates for me, reminisce some time, the night they lied God had taken my friend.

‘I try to block it out, those phone calls, but they keep playing again.

‘When the relationship is real, feelings are hard to conceal, you can’t imagine all the pain I felt.

‘Throughout the ordeal, I kept telling myself that I would give everything, just to hear half of your breath.

‘Just the way we do it on our weekly TV show ‘Game Plan.’

‘But, something kept telling me that you were still living your life, even after they had tried to bury you, with those posts, in which they faked your death.

“It’s great buddie that you are still around, knowing the Lord in Heaven is still smiling down on us.

‘Watching us while we pray for our haters and, every day, we celebrate life.

‘We thank God for the gifts he gave us, never taking them for granted, never thinking we are special.

‘Always reminding ourselves we are mere humans.

‘In my heart is where I’ll forever keep you my friend, your smile will always give me the strength I need to proceed, strength I need to believe.

‘No matter where our special bond takes us from here, I will always be comforted by the reality that I’m not walking alone.

‘The two of us in the studio, connecting with the millions, the audience of our great weekly programmes.

‘Every single day, every time I pray, I’m glad I still have you.

‘Thinking of the day, when they tried to take you away, what a life to take, what a bond to try and break.’

To God Be The Glory!

Peace to the GEPA Chief, the Big Fish, George Norton, Daily Service, Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and all the Chakariboys still in the struggle.

 Come on United!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ronaldoooooooooooooooooooooo!

Text Feedback 0772545199

WhatsApp 0772545199

Email- [email protected]; [email protected]

  You can also interact with me on Twitter (@Chakariboy), Facebook, Instagram (sharukor) and Skype (sharuko58) and GamePlan, the authoritative football magazine show on ZTV, where I interact with the legendary Charles “CNN” Mabika, is back every Wednesday night at 9.30pm

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