THE late Rahman Gumbo’s personality touched not only those who rubbed shoulders with him. His stature as a coach inspired school football players and coaches as well.
Off his busy schedule, Gumbo would take time to watch schools football around the country, in what the National Association of Secondary Heads (Nash) president Arthur Maphosa said was inspirational to school children.
Gumbo, known by many as Rush somehow would rush to an invitation to a schools’ competition.
Maphosa said they would see him in as many of the tournaments, putting on his usual jovial demeanour.
“Rahman was a living legend to us in schools. When introduced to players, they knew they had to put up their best and play to please. He loved watching schools football.
“I remember in the days when his younger brother, Norman Gumbo used to appear for Sobukhazi High School, he was always there to watch. He graced a number of our tournaments as a guest or just as a spectator. We mourn his loss. Football has lost a legend,” said Gumbo.
There are many tournaments that the late coach graced, some in rural areas during the off-season Christmas breaks. Football fans would take turns to greet him and get selfies, proving how renowned he was.
Meanwhile, tributes continue to pour in.
Developmental football coach Xolani “Skweya” Nkundlande hailed Gumbo as the one who inspired many youngsters in his childhood suburb of Njube.
“Rahman ‘Rush’ Gumbo is a national football hero to me. He played a very pivotal role in football both as a player and as a coach. He was a role model in football coaching whom I followed in his footsteps. I was born and bred in Njube and that is how I got to know him. We call him a Njube legend and I grew up wishing one day I become a great coach like him. May his soul rest in peace. He was my mentor, football hero and a legend,” said Nkundlande.
Young Flying Stars Soccer Academy director, Colleen Nyambiya also weighed in with a broken heart.
“My deepest condolences to the Gumbo family and the football fraternity as a whole. We have been robbed of a football son who worked hard. We envied him and as a championship winning coach in the country. He was a great manager who every player wanted to play for. There was so much to learn from him,” said Nyambiya.
He remembers his closest encounter with Gumbo at the Young Warriors’ Under-23 camp in the 90s. At the time, the late coach was an assistant to Barry Daka.
“He is a story teller. Every time we gather with him, he would be the one telling us of the old days. His stories were captivating and inspiring. He kept us laughing. What I liked the most is that during his time in Botswana, he would advise us to send players for trials. Had he lived more years, I am sure I would have learned a lot on how he managed to win championships and get to groom star players.