Harare, Jan 8 (SocialNews.XYZ) Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) announced it is in mourning after the sudden death of senior women's team assistant coach Sinikiwe Mpofu. Her death at the age of 37 comes less than a month after her husband, Shepherd Makunura, who was the men's team fielding coach, was laid to rest.
Sinikiwe, the former Zimbabwe international cricket player affectionately known as Sneeze, was pronounced dead on arrival at a medical facility after she collapsed at her home in Masvingo on Saturday morning. ZC said in an official statement that a post-mortem to determine the cause of her death was due to be carried out.
At the time of her tragic demise, Sinikiwe was still trying to come to terms with the death of her husband, Makunura, who passed away on December 15 and leaves two children behind.
Born in Bulawayo on February 21, 1985, Sinikiwe was a talented all-rounder who was part of the history-making team that represented Zimbabwe women in their first-ever international cricket match in December 2006. She started playing the game while she was still a student at Mpopoma High School and went on to feature for the provincial side Westerns.
In 2007, she joined Takashinga Cricket Club and also made it into the Northerns team after she moved to Harare to pursue further education. After ending her playing career, she ventured into coaching and scoring, becoming an integral part of ZC's game development structures at provincial and national levels.
Sinikiwe had been part of the technical teams that have seen Zimbabwe Women dominating Africa, earning ODI status and recently finished just one win away from qualifying for the 2023 ICC Women's T20 World Cup.
Under her tutelage as head coach, Mountaineers Women won the inaugural Fifty50 Challenge - Zimbabwe's provincial one-day championship for women -- in the 2020/21 season. Last season, she led them to another final, finishing as runners-up in the Women's T20 Cup.
"Death has robbed us of a genuinely warm individual, more importantly, a loving mother, and deprived so many others, including all of us, of one of the pioneers of women's cricket in Zimbabwe who went on to excel as a coach at provincial and national levels."
"With her sudden passing coming just a few weeks after the death of her loving husband, who was also a part of our national team coaching setup, this is particularly a difficult and painful time for their young children, families, friends and the entire cricket fraternity. In extending to them our heartfelt condolences, we wish them courage and strength to bear this devastating loss," said Givemore Makoni, ZC Managing Director.
ZC added that the Board, Management, Staff and Players wish to convey their heartfelt condolences to the Mpofu and Makunura families on the passing of a gifted and hardworking young woman who excelled both as a player and a coach while saying arrangements for Sinikiwe's funeral will be announced in due course.