BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
LEGENDARY former Warriors and Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce “Jungleman” Grobbelaar (pictured) has challenged Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to assist the country’s efforts in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Grobbelaar made the plea during a Solidary Trust Zimbabwe (SOT Zim)’s Facebook live discussion dubbed Make your mark series: Is Zimbabwe ready for COVID-19? on Thursday evening.
With Covid-19 cases on the increase, Zimbabwe is into the sixth week of a national lockdown amid threats of hunger and starvation. SOT Zim has launched an initiative to raise US$3 million to help the country’s efforts.
“This Covid-19 has impacted everyone in the world. It has impacted on industry, everyday life, sport and going back to sport, every single sport has been locked down and for myself anything that we can do for our homeland we must do it,” the 62-year-old football legend said from his UK base.
“I lived in Canada for 10 years and I was among the group of diaspora around North America. “They are very passionate about Zimbabwe.
“The diaspora here in the UK are passionate about Zimbabwe. I think that they would get behind this initiative. I would like to say to all the diaspora, donate to SOT Zim and get this initiative running up to a higher level,” he added.
SOT Zim was established by a group of Zimbabweans from various sectors to contribute to an effective national response to the Covid-19 pandemic through mobilization, information sharing and supporting citizen-led contributions.
With the English top flight league set to be concluded in the next couple of months, Grobbelaar feels football may never be the same again especially when it comes to the involvement of fans.
“When the stadiums will open for fans is something that remains to be seen. When we find that we have gone over the curve of the coronavirus and heading on a downhill cycle, when we get near the bottom I envisage that the stadiums will open.
“But there will be a sit in between so we will not have a full capacity. There will be social distancing in the stadiums till we get the virus broken or we get the vaccine,” he said.
And having left Zimbabwe before independence before an illustrious career with football giants Liverpool, Grobbelaar says he has stuck to a healthy Zimbabwean diet, which is an advantage in the fight against the novel coronavirus.
“It’s a thing around your diet. Even in the UK and Canada, I haven’t forgotten my roots. I still have mazondo, my sadza and my greens. I make sure that once a week I go back home and eat the food of home,” he said.
“My family, I have three girls, they have been brought on sadza, nyama and greens (vegetables). “We don’t forget where I have come from and I make sure they don’t forget that.”
The Jungleman is also confident that his former side, Liverpool will be crowned English league champions with plans to finish the season advancing well.
“This Covid-19 came at such an unbelievable time. We were ‘social distancing’ ourselves from the rest of the league. We know that once the league start we will win the league and we will go on to try and better ourselves next season,” he said.
The man, who made 628 appearances for Liverpool over 13 years winning league titles as well as three FA and League Cup had a message for Zimbabwean footballers.
“To all the footballers in Zimbabwe, to the Warriors all the very best for all the matches coming up, the World Cup and Africa Nations Cup,” he said.
SOT Zim is chaired by banker Nigel Chanakira and had managed to raise US$220 974 by last week Sunday.