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Oh no man! Local football has been robbed

On the 3rd of June this year, Norman Maroto was at his rural home homestead in Mugugu Village in Guruve.

He took a picture —with a glancing smile on his face, in the company of his aunt and posted it on Facebook —a platform he really enjoyed being on.

Unbeknown to Maroto, hundreds of people would gather at that same homestead barely a month later, to lay him to rest.

The local football fraternity is still shocked by and struggling to come to terms with the death of the former Dynamos and Gunners hitman, who passed away in Harare after a short illness, at the age of 40.

Lumumba, as Maroto was affectionately known, was buried in Guruve yesterday and the huge send off was befitting for a man who was loyal to local football till his last breath.

The look on his brother Doit’s face at Nyaradzo Funeral Home on Saturday, summed up the heartbreak the Maroto family was enduring as result of his untimely death.

The hearse carrying the body of the late Norman Maroto before his ‘final journey’ to Rufaro Stadium, on Saturday.

His last post on X, formerly Twitter, was a picture of him and legendary former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger, with the caption: “Behavior is always greater than knowledge. Because in life there are many situations where knowledge fails but behavior can still handle.”

Gunners was a name very dear to Maroto, as it characterizes the club he turned out for locally and scored 22 goals for, as well as the English Premier League club he loved to the moon and back —Arsenal.

Maroto loved Arsenal and anything to do with the North London outfit was of interest to him.

But it is local football which he adored more.

He was the “anything to do with local football, you can wake me up at 3am” type.

He would take part in nearly every kind of topic related to Zimbabwean football.

The former Churchill High School student was so passionate about the local game, such that he would find positivity even when it seems negativity was all there is.

Incompetence stinks and one doesn’t have to clean their nostrils to smell it, which has been the summary of the ZIFA Normalisation Committee’s tenure at the helm of Zimbabwean football but Maroto rarely criticized the Lincoln Mutasa-led administration, at least publicly.

Instead, he remained optimistic that eventually everything would go well.

Legendary former Warriors captain Peter Ndlovu described Maroto as a loyal servant of the game.

“Your sudden death Norman has left us wondering what’s next in our space,” Ndlovu wrote on X.

“Condolences to the families, especially the wife and kids, to the football fraternity that you served with dignity both as a player and administrator, and to all the friends.”


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