It is with great sadness and shock that Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) announces the sudden death of Zimbabwe Senior Women’s National Team Assistant Coach Sinikiwe Mpofu, less than a month after her husband, Shepherd Makunura, was laid to rest.
She was 37.
Mpofu, the former Zimbabwe international cricket player affectionately known as Sneeze, was pronounced dead on arrival at a medical facility after she collapsed at her home in Masvingo this Saturday morning.
A post-mortem to determine the cause of her death was due to be carried out.
At the time of her tragic demise, Mpofu was still trying to come to terms with the death of her husband, Makunura, the Zimbabwe Senior Men’s National Team Fielding Coach and Southern Rocks Head Coach who passed away on 15 December 2022.
They are survived by two children.
Mpofu, born in Bulawayo on 21 February 1985, was a talented all-rounder who was part of the history-making team that represented Zimbabwe Women in their first-ever international cricket match in December 2006.
She started playing the game while she was still a student at Mpopoma High School and went on to feature for the provincial side Westerns.
In 2007, she joined Takashinga Cricket Club and also made it into the Northerns team after she moved to Harare to pursue further education.
After ending her playing career, she ventured into coaching and scoring, becoming an integral part of ZC’s game development structures at provincial and national levels.
Mpofu has been part of the technical teams that have seen Zimbabwe Women dominating Africa, earning one-day international status and recently finishing just one win away from qualifying for the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup.
Under her tutelage as Head Coach, Mountaineers Women won the inaugural Fifty50 Challenge – Zimbabwe’s provincial one-day championship for women – in the 2020/21 season.
Last season, she led them to another final, finishing as runners-up in the Women’s T20 Cup.
The ZC Board, Management, Staff and Players wish to convey their heartfelt condolences to the Mpofu and Makunura families on the passing of a gifted and hardworking young woman who excelled both as a player and a coach.
“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,” ZC Managing Director Givemore Makoni said.
“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,” he added.
“In extending to them our heartfelt condolences, we wish them courage and strength to bear this devastating loss.”
Arrangements for Mpofu’s funeral will be announced in due course.