The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Ovidy Rallies Denver

ZIMBABWE international midfielders - Archford Gutu and Ovidy Karuru -have rallied behind their Warriors' teammate, Denver Mukamba, in his brave battle to conquer his asthmatic condition. Gutu and Karuru, who are based in Europe, said they were praying for the Dynamos star who has been the standout player in the domestic Premiership this season.

Mukamba played his first game for DeMbare, since his condition was published exclusively by The Herald last week, in a Mbada Diamonds Cup first round tie at Rufaro on Sunday.

The lanky forward scored the Glamour Boys' goal in regulation time in a game that ended in a 1-1 draw against punching bags Quelaton.

The game was also screened live on SuperSport 9.

Mukamba missed from the spot, in the penalty shootout, but DeMbare survived to win the lottery 4-2 to book a place against Gunners in the quarter-finals.

Dynamos will meet Gunners at Torwood in Kwekwe while Highlanders will take on Monomotapa at the Colliery.

FC Platinum will be given a home date in their derby against Shabanie at Mandava after their opponents enjoyed the luxury of a home date against Hwange in the first round.

CAPS United, who eliminated Motor Action at a bumpy Potato Field in Trojan, and Buffaloes who edged Mambas in Mutare, will clash at Gibo in Chiredzi.

But the biggest story has centred on Mukamba and the brave battle he has been fighting to beat his asthmatic condition and take his football to the next level.

Mukamba is widely regarded as one of the finest players of his generation and part of the crew of new players, in the Warriors, who could take the senior national team to a new level.

While some members of Mukamba's management team are unhappy with the decision by this newspaper to publish his story, the player has embraced his fate and appears ready to fight and beat his condition.

The DeMbare fans have also come out in full support of their hero and on Sunday unveiled a huge banner, with their solidarity message intact, in which they showed they were fully behind their idol.

Mukamba also embraced the initiative by the fans and went on a lap of honour, holding the banner, around the stadium after the match.

Even CAPS United fans have joined in with their messages of support and an obscene Facebook post, in which one of them tried to mock Mukamba based on his health challenges, attracted fierce criticism from the Green Machine supporters.

He is not the only high-profile football star who has had some medical issues to sort out with Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates star Andile Jali being sent to the United States for tests after it was diagnosed that he has a heart condition.

Aston Villa skipper, Stiliyan Petrov, is currently on the sidelines as he fights acute leukemia and he has been receiving such overwhelming support from the fans that recent tests show that the cancer is in remission.

Nwanko Kanu, considered one of the greatest African football players of all-time, also needed specialist treatment for him to keep playing the game after doctors in Italy detected that he had a heart condition that required surgery.

While Gutu made his breakthrough last year by signing for the Swedish side, Mukamba is still waiting to make the grace at a foreign team.

Gutu posted on his Facebook account that he is praying for Mukamba and the post triggered a wave of solidarity messages from the fans.

"MY PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU BOY," wrote Gutu, who scored one of the goals when the Warriors beat Angola 3-1 in a 2013 Nations Cup qualifier at Rufaro.

Mukamba played in that game, coming in as a substitute.

"GET WELL SOON AND SHINE DENVER MUKAMBA!!!!" said Gutu.

There was an immediate response and here are some of the posts:

Simon Mbendera: Thanx Uche, with GOD everything is possible.

James Razunguzwa: In God we trust.

Jst Lungelo: Amen.

Norman Chimanga: That's nice of you mate, that's what friends do. Let's all pray for Denny.

Charles Ebenezer Joaó Folias: In God's name, he is healed.

Masterpeace Maker: Jah will bless him.

Peckance Machingambi: Thanks Uche for supporting your brother.

Brilliant JB Jambwa: Boy oh Boy he is in our prayers.

Victor Chihuri: You can say that again Uche, we are in this one together (and) I hope today, he will score a goal, a goal that will heal him and (he) should dedicate it to the Almighty.

Leona Chinkande: Amen he is healed.

John Majuru: That's what friends are for Uche . . . . thanx man, will also support him through!

Farai Paruwani: For sure Uche, get well soon Denver!

Tinashe Mutarwa: Amen

Ganizani Ndungwa: With God all things are possible.

Michael Tatenda Vere: Thanks Uche, Mwari vachanzwa kuchema kwevana vavo.

Lovemore Makombe: Amen

Claudiuos Tich Kech: That's a sign for a real friend, thanks Archie.

Belgium-based midfielder, Ovidy Karuru, also posted on his Facebook account rallying behind Mukamba.

"God is with you all the way DENVER MUKAMBA," wrote Karuru.

"You will play soccer till you can't run, till you grow old, IN GOD I TRUST."

Karuru's post also triggered a number of responses.

Tambirai Ngandu: Taura hako.

Tatenda Caesar Machona: That very sweet man I wish him a great career as well.

Wonderfull Urayai Rukuni: Keep on saying. That's true Karuru. Denver receive your healing in Jesus name.

Andrew Mubaya Andrew: That shows you are not jealous. God bless you.

Martin Mukupe: Manzwi makukutu kubva kuna Ovy, usakure musoro young man, we are all behind you. Zoraaaaaaaaa!!

Pessy De Chele Nhedza: Thanx Ovivi in the name of Jesus, Denver will be healed.

Isiah Maponga: You are such a darling. I respect you for that, we are all praying for the young man.

Brighton Hove: That's the truth Ovidy, you will never walk alone Denver, God is with you that's why he gave you that exceptional talent, you will play till you retire. Zoraa Mundikumbuke.

Ashton Sugar Mandaza: Thanks for the love mate, he is one of you of you bra and we need you in Angola alongside Knowledge, Khama na Denver

James Chiwaka: True that wangu, JAH JAH will BLESS him and pour the waters of Meribba on him for his healing. JAH BLESS!

Tongai Muswera: That's true.

Lewis Luwwy Chimbadza: That's true Denver, God is with you.

Kuda Calvin Ngwerume: The spirit of oneness. Thanx Vidoo..

Freddy Nyathi: That's a good one for Mukamba, keep encouraging them Ovidy.

Godfrey Munyaradzi Kombora: Sure, in God's name, you will be fine.

Maggie Maisiri: He will be healed in Jesus' name. Our little hero!

Abraham Taona: That's true Mdara . . . You will reach your destiny my brother.

Wellington Gwamz: One love, one spirit nationmate, what a friend, those are strong words Vid, great of you.

Panashe Brian Tsandukwa: Amen.

Louis Wamambo Makomeke: Great words from a great man! Good sportsmanship.

James Jamudah Magiya: The spirit of oneness.

Simon Mvenge: Till you hang your boots.

Phanuel Mavunga: Ndiwe uneyese Karuru Ovidy.

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