Zimbabwe cricket trailblazer Sinikiwe Mpofu has died aged 37.
Mpofu was an all-rounder and was part of Zimbabwe women’s first-ever international match in December 2006.
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She booked herself more history when she becane the first female player to transition from playing to coaching and in 2021 was the head coach of the Mountaineers and Southerns women’s teams as well as a national womne’s team assistant coach.
Her death comes less than a month after the death of her husband Shepherd Makunura.
He was the Zimbabwe men’s national team’s fielding coach who passed away on December 15.
Zimbabwe Cricket website has reported that Mpofu was pronounced dead on arrival at a medical facility on Saturday after she had collapsed at her home in Masvingo.
She had taken compassionate leave after he husband’s death having been set to accompany the Zimbabwe side to the 2023 Under-19s women’s World Cup.
A post-mortem will now be carried out to determine the cause of her death.
The couple, who met through cricket, are survived by two children.
She later became the head coach of the Mountaineers women’s team in the country’s domestic cricket league.
She guided them to the inaugural Fifty50 Challenge – Zimbabwe’s provincial one-day championship for women – back in 2021.
Mpofu then led them to another final last season but her team finished as runners-up in the Women’s T20 Cup.
Zimbabwe Cricket’s Givemore Makoni managing director, has paid tribute to the late star.
He said: “Death has robbed us of a genuinely warm individual, more importantly a loving mother, and deprived so many others, including all of us, of one of the pioneers of women’s cricket in Zimbabwe who went on to excel as a coach at provincial and national levels.
“With her sudden passing coming just a few weeks after the death of her loving husband, who was also a part of our national team coaching setup, this is particularly a difficult and painful time for their young children, families, friends and the entire cricket fraternity.
“In extending to them our heartfelt condolences, we wish them the courage and strength to bear this devastating loss.”
This story first appeared in The Sun and was republished with permission.