Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
FOUR people including three football players and a member of the Nembudziya FC technical team died after a lorry they were travelling in ploughed into a herd of cattle in the early hours of yesterday.
The three soccer players, whose team plies in the Zifa Midlands Division 2B league, died on the spot while the fourth person is said to have succumbed to injuries sustained in the accident on admission to Gokwe North District Hospital.
The lorry had 45 people on board and 38 people who suffered various degrees of injuries are admitted to Gokwe North District Hospital.
Mr Austin Brian Chishanga, the Zifa Midlands chairperson, confirmed the accident which he said happened at around 12:30 am in the Kuwirirana area.
He said Nembudziya FC was returning to Gokwe following a fixture they had fulfilled against BM Academy from Redcliff Town on Saturday afternoon.
“It is with profound sadness that I have to inform you that Nembudziya FC were involved in a road accident while travelling back to Nembudziya from a league game against BM Academy. Four people lost their lives and four other people who are critical have been transferred to a Harare Hospital. The others are admitted to Gokwe District Hospital, “he said.
Mr Chishanga said they were saddened by the loss of lives, adding that the team was an integral part of the league and was developing football in Gokwe in particular and the Midlands Province at large.
“We will give a full report as soon as details are received. We as Zifa Midlands are very sorry, our deepest condolences to all families who have lost their beloved ones. May their souls rest in lasting peace,” he said.
Mr Chishanga said indications were that the fatal accident happened at around 12:30 am.
“As they were approaching Nembudziya, the lorry, which had 45 passengers on board, ploughed into a herd of cattle that was on the road allegedly following a brake failure resulting in the death of the players while others were injured,” he said.
According to Mr Talent Moyo, the Nembudziya FC team manager, the accident happened in Kuwirirana near Nembudziya Growth point.
“We were travelling from Gokwe town centre to Nembudziya from a match against BM Academy which we won three zero. On the approach to Kuwirirana there is Gokwe mountain. As we descended, the lorry’s brakes failed. The driver tried to control the vehicle but to add to the danger were cattle lying on the road. The truck hit the cows before spilling the passengers and overturning once,” said Mr Moyo from his hospital bed at Gokwe North District Hospital where he and other team members are admitted.