ZIMBABWE Football Association (ZIFA) have approached the government requesting hero status in honour of the late Warriors and Dynamos legend David “Yogi” Mandigora.
He passed away at his home in Harare last Saturday at the age of 64.
Mandigora had a long battle with the peripheral vascular disease – a circulatory condition that narrows blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the limbs.
In a statement Monday, ZIFA revealed they have since written to the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), to approach the government on their behalf, with their request for Mandigora to be declared a national hero.
The request is in recognition to his contribution to Zimbabwean football.
Mandigora was part of the first national team to represent Zimbabwe at independence in 1980. The same year, he became the country’s first Soccer Star of the Year.
After his playing days, Mandigora also served as national team assistant coach.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association has written to the Sports and Recreation Commission requesting government to confer hero status on the late football legend David ’Yogi’ Mandigora,” ZIFA said through its spokesperson Xolisani Gwesela.
“Mandigora had a huge impact on the face of local football, from the colonial days when the sport was used to challenge colonial rule. It was fitting that he was crowned as the Soccer Star of the Year in 1980 when the country attained its independence.
“Yogi equally became a success story as a coach, leading his boyhood club Dynamos to league glory in 2007 and the Africa Champions League semi-finals in 2008. He also played for the national team on various occasions and put the country on the world football map.
“Mandigora’s transition from a devoted player into a successful coach epitomises the life story of a true hero for many young footballers and the generality of Zimbabweans.
“David served the sporting fraternity and the nation at large with distinction and it is our humble request that he be bestowed with the greatest honour of being declared a national hero,” said Gwesela.
Nicknamed Yogi during his playing days, the Highfield-born and bred Mandigora’s football career began in the early 1970s, joining the DeMbare under-16 team in 1973 as a livewire striker.
He went on to enjoy a successful career with Dynamos winning seven league titles as a player. He was crowned Zimbabwe’s first Soccer Star at independence in 1980.
After his retirement as a player, Mandigora led DeMbare to the league title as a coach in 2007 and reached the semi-final of the Champions League the following season.
His coaching career was cut short after he had one of his legs amputated in 2017.
According to recent reports, Yogi was set to lose his remaining leg before his demise Saturday.