IT has emerged that the late legendary Zimbabwean football icon, Willard Mashinkila Khumalo, who was laid to rest at Bulawayoa��s Lady Stanley cemetery on Thursday, has Zambian roots.
Jimmy Mashinkila, the uncle to the departed MaWee, said the grandfather to Nduna, Ballast Buchisa Mashinkila and his grandmother Lenje hailed from Zambia.
a�?For a fact, the late Willard has roots in Zambia. His grandfather was from Lamba, Mpongwe district which is on the copper belt in Zambia while his grandmother Lenje hailed from Zambiaa��s central province.
a�?There was a time when our grandfather relocated from then Northern Rhodesia to come and work in Rhodesia which is now Zimbabwe. He worked at the National Railways of Zimbabwe and when people relocated they used to take their children with them and that is why our eldest brothers came to Zimbabwe,a�? said Jimmy in a deep Bemba ascent.
Had Ballast taken all his children back to Zambia and Willard continued with his football there, he could have featured in one of Zambiaa��s greatest teams ever.
The same team that had players who perished in a plane crash in 1993 and the same team inspired by Kalusha Bwalya who broke the hearts of millions of Zimbabweans when his late equaliser cancelled Agent Sawua��s lead for the Warriors to inspire a makeshift Zambian team to the 1994 Afcon finals staged in Tunisia.
a�?Before his retirement, our father took some of his children back to Zambia but for people like Willard they were born here in Bulawayo but we are from Zambia,a�? said the soft-spoken Jimmy who was surrounded by Mawiia��s foreign based children, brothers and sisters.
Question: Why did the late midfield genius, who once had a playing stint in Germany together with another former Highlanders son Madinda Ndlovu, adopt the surname Khumalo?
Jimmy, a former Zamsure FC and Ndola United football player explained.
a�?The surname Khumalo came about the fact that our father was from a royal family so in adopting the surname, it was all in an effort to relate to the Khumalo royalty in Zimbabwe. Willarda��s grandfather and grandmother were from Zambiaa��s royal families.a�?
Nduna, who died in his sleep at United Bulawayo Hospitals last Sunday morning, reportedly succumbed to a long battle with diabetes. He was an integral member of the all conquering Zimbabwe Warriors a�?Dream Teama�? in the nineties under German coach Reinhard Fabisch. He won several titles and awards while playing for Highlanders.
Under Fabisch he played alongside the likes of the late Adam Ndlovu, Peter Ndlovu, John Phiri, Paul Gundani, Carlos Max, Henry McKop, Ephraim Chawanda, Mercedes Sibanda and the lateA� Francis Shonhayi.
Nduna also coached Lancashire Steel, Highlanders and Mwana Africa. Perhaps his best moments were when he played in Germany from where Bosso regularly called him back to feature in the then Natbrew and Zifa Cup finals against Dynamos.
Ever nimble footed and stocky Khumalo would confuse his opponents, perform his trademark false kick, before distributing a killer pass, a performance to which the fans, would roar: a�?Mawii!a�?.
Outside the pitch, Mawii was a known socialite, gifted with a sense of humour.