TAKAWIRA PACHIRERA, a versatile defender who used to turn out for the now-defunct Premiership football side Fire Batteries, has died.
He was 53.
Pachirera died on Sunday at a private clinic in Harare's Ardbennie neighbourhood after a long battle with meningitis, according to his young brother Tendai.
He is survived by two sons -- Tawanda and Roy -- and mourners are gathered at No. 81 Munyanda Street in Mbare.
Pachirera will be buried at Granville Cemetery today.
He comes from a football family.
His late brother, Taurayi "Fit" Pachirera, used to feature for former Premiership sides Cone Textiles and Darryn Textiles (later known as Darryn T) in the 1980s.
His younger brother Toyi was also a talented footballer.
"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the death of Takawira Pachirera who made his name while playing for former Premiership side Fire Batteries in the early 1990s.
"He succumbed to meningitis after he was diagnosed with tuberculosis.
"We are saddened by his untimely death as he was someone we looked up to for inspiration and he had so much influence and managed to inspire several young people from the Mbare community," Tendai Pachirera said yesterday.
Former Zimbabwe international midfielder, Mike "Dutch" Maringa, called him a leader who took no prisoners on the pitch.
"Takawira Pachirera was nicknamed "Bomber" because of his robust play. He was a good defender and a leader on the pitch.
"We played together at Fire Batteries in the '90s and were in the same side with the likes of George "Zero Zero" Chirambarara, Hussein Amidu, Innocent Chikoya and Fungai Mukwava.
"I actually grew up playing football together with Pachirera in Mbare and we both ended up playing in the Premier League at Fire Batteries before I left the country to join Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa.
"I'm really shocked by his untimely death at such a young age," said Maringa from his base in England. Former Dynamos assistant coach, Ralph Kawondera, said his death was a great loss to the local football family.
"It's a great loss to the football community in Mbare as Pachirera influenced most players in his area to take football seriously.
"He was a good centre-back and a midfielder who started his career at Lonrho before moving to Clan and eventually at Fire Batteries.
"He worked with (former ZIFA Technical Director) Nelson Matongorere and managed to influence a lot of young players from Mbare." Romeo Kabesha also sent in his condolences.