Australia — based Joice Mada-Takaidza yesterday buried herself in grief, as she mourned the late Gems team manager, Ledwin Dondo, who was buried yesterday at Glen Forest Memorial Park.
Gems' players, netball coaches and officials attended the burial.
Although she could not be present for the burial, Mada-Takaidza joined her teammates in mourning, with a touching message, which was posted on Facebook.
"You didn't have time to say goodbye and you promised me 2023 World Cup you will be there," she said.
"So, this is it, you are gone, my prayer warrior, my mother, my coach, my team manager and my friend.
"Zim Gems Netball will never be the same.
"I am forever grateful for everything you have taught me. Go well my champion. Rest in peace my team manager, we will surely miss you mother."
Back home, some of the Gems, who were part of the team, led by Dondo to their first World Cup in 2019, such as Ursula Ndlovu, Ndaizivei Madzikangava and Rudo Karume, attended the burial.
They were led by coach, Lloyd Makunde, who said they had lost a mother and an advisor.
"We worked together to an extent that we had become more of a family. At one time we stayed together in camp for three months," said Makunde.
"She was more of a mother than a team manager.
"She was a mother to almost all of us, she was kind and not many people would match her kindness.
"She would provide guidance to all of us and when one had a problem she would come in to assist.
"I am lucky I was able to work with her, she was just a loving, and caring person, and no one would get angry at her.
"I would have loved us to lose her from the national team through retirement, not through death, it's painful."
Before her appointment, as the team manager in 2018, Dondo had been the coach of the Gems, between 2000 and 2017.
She was also the ZINA president, in the late 1990s, and has been described as an icon for her passion, and contribution, to the game.
Some of netball officials who attended the burial ceremony included ZINA president, Letitia Chipandu, and secretary-general Barbara Rice.