Patrick Chitumba and Sukoluhle Ndlovu in GWERU
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has sent his condolence message to the Tinago family following the death of boxing legend Langton "Schoolboy" Tinago. The three-time Commonwealth champion died in the early hours of Tuesday, aged 69, after a short battle with pneumonia.
Addressing mourners gathered at late boxer's mother's residence at No. 42 Nkenyani Road, Mambo, Gweru, the Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs Owen Ncube, said President Mnangagwa was mourning with the Tinago family and the sporting fraternity at large.
"President Mnangagwa sent me to pass his sincere condolences following the death of our legend.
"He was deeply saddened by Tinago's death and, unfortunately, he could not come due to other commitments.
"The President described Tinago as man who put Zimbabwe on the map through boxing and is mourning with you," he said.
Ncube said the Government, through the Ministry of Sports, was also taking over the funeral expenses.
"The Government, led by President Mnangagwa, will cater for the funeral costs through the Ministry of Sports.
"We will cater for all costs from food to the coffin and other expenses," said Ncube.
The minister said the Tinago family had requested the ruling Zanu-PF party to have the boxer honoured for his contribution to the sports fraternity and they were still waiting for communication from the party leadership.
"The party leadership is looking into the matter and we will notify you of the decision as soon as we get it," he said.
The Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation, Kazembe Kazembe, said this was a great loss for boxing and the entire sporting fraternity.
Represented by Eugenia Chidhakwa, a director in his ministry, Kazembe said Tinago had been given an instructor role for the revamped Kwekwe July Sports and Arts Festival pencilled for this weekend at Torwood Stadium.
"He is one of the people who raised the flag of our country in sports by being a three-time Commonwealth winner, thereby securing a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
"He is special to us for putting Zimbabwe on the boxing map.
"His talent shone very brightly, and as the Sports and Recreation Ministry, we are saddened by his departure.
"We had actually given him a role as an instructor in the boxing category for the games taking place in Kwekwe this weekend."
Family spokesperson, Wellington Pombi, commended the Government for its kind gesture.
"We want to thank the Government led by President Mnangagwa for this humble gesture. We are planning to bury him on Saturday, but we stand guided by the Government," he said.