HE SCORED a few brilliant goals as a midfielder but managed to bang them like Lionel Messi in between the sheets since his surviving family failed to keep count of children Willard Mashinkila Khumalo (49) left behind.
This was revealed on Wednesday afternoon by the deceaseda��s uncle at the funeral wake.
a�?I am meeting some of Willarda��s children for the first time. I hear others are studying abroad. At the moment, I cana��t give you the number of children that he had. I have to make sure and Ia��m still counting as some came from abroad to pay their last respects,a�? said Jimmy Mashinkila, Willarda��s uncle based in Zambia.
At the time of his death, Khumalo stayed with a live-in girlfriend at a house in Mzilikazi which is a stone throw away from his parents home.
Since he was not married, his mother Julian Mashinkila Khumalo took up the place traditionally reserved for a wife a�� accompanying the late footballera��s body to its final resting place Lady Stanley Cemetery.
His girlfriend, known as uNaScolo with whom they had children could be seen being comforted by her family. There was no mention of her at all in the programme.
At his final resting place, speaker after speaker took to the podium giving a well deserved colourful eulogy.
However, none of them made mention of who survived Nduuuna!
Eager to get answers, mourners waited patiently for the childrena��s chance as it was indicated on the speakersa�� list.
Five of them went upfront but they pulled a shocker displaying their disunity.
a�?On behalf of myself, Wesley and Nomakhosi we . . .,a�? said one of the children Wendy before breaking down.
Her sister Nomakhosi had to continue with the speech which was short and brief thanking people for supporting the family during such a hard time.
As all this was happening, two of Willarda��s sons stood aside showing that they were waiting for their opportunity to speak, but Master of Ceremonies Ernest Maphepha instructed them to go sit down.
Another highlight was that like many footballers, Khumalo died a poor man, something that has become a motif with sportsmen who make a name for themselves in Zimbabwe and beyond.
One of his uncles, Brian Mashinkila said his nephew could have been something else had he planned for a post career life.
a�?Nduna loved playing football and it is sad that he never enjoyed fruits of his sacrifices after retirement. He would have died a rich man, but that is a story for another day,a�? he said.
Mourners agreed in chorus that Khumalo had hit rock bottom.
Living in abject poverty Khumaloa��s funeral was carried by well wishers such as Nyaradzo Funeral Policy who provided a coffin worth about $3 000 and transport.A� Choppies Supermarkets donated a tonne of undisclosed groceries.
Khumaloa��s funeral was extra-ordinary. The service started at 8am up to 3pm.
It reminded the football family of the funeral procession of Adam Ndlovu who passed on in 2013.
Nduna got a send-off befitting a hero of his calibre.