SuperSport United and Zimbabwe goalkeeper George Chigova has tragically passed away, ZIFA confirmed on Wednesday afternoon.
SuperSport Ucoach Gavin Hunt, during the offseason, painted dark times ahead for him, saying his situation “it doesn’t look positive” and the club will assess him before the season starts based on doctors’ recommendations.
The towering Zimbabwean, who rejoined SuperSport for the second time ahead of the 2020/21 season after the relegation of Polokwane City, was not training with the club in Durban for the pre-season camp.
“I have not been briefed on the diagnosis or the whole thing, I’m not a doctor,” Hunt said at the time.
“But I know that there is a problem that we are attending to at this point in time and we will know in the next week or so.
“He’s going to spend four weeks just being inactive and go from there. But it doesn’t look positive, but we will give him all the support we can and stay behind him as best we can.”
Chigova, 32, is said to have suffered a heart attack in July. But he is reported to have returned to training before collapsing.
“The Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) mourns the passing of former Warriors goalkeeper George Chigova,” the statement from ZIFA read.
“Chigova, affectionately known as “Jojola,” played a pivotal role in Zimbabwean football, representing the Warriors with distinction at various international tournaments, including the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
“His sudden passing has left a void in the hearts of football fans and the Zimbabwean sporting community. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Chigova’s family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time.
“His contributions to Zimbabwean football will not be forgotten. May His Soul Rest In Eternal Peace”
His news of death, aged 32, comes in a week when AmaZulu lost their striker Bongi Ntuli, who tragically lost his life through cancer.
Chigova initially joined SuperSport ahead of the 2014/15 season. He won the Carling Knockout Cup in his first season when the Tshwane giants defeated Platinum Stars on penalty shootouts under Gordon Igesund.
In the following season, he left to join Polokwane City, spending five seasons in Limpopo before he was coaxed back to Pretoria ahead of 2020/21 season after Rise and Shine was relegated after the bio bubble.
“It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the passing of former SuperSport United player, George Chigova,” SuperSport said in a statement.
“George had two stints with the club, having joined us in 2014 from Dynamos in Zimbabwe. He rejoined SuperSport in 2020 after having played for Polokwane City from 2015.
“While he just started seven games for the club, he formed a great backup and training partner for the likes of Ronwen Williams, Ricardo Goss and Boalefa Pule. He also represented his country, Zimbabwe, making 32 appearances.
“George was a great club man, a gentle giant loved by current and former player and everyone at the club.
“Even though his official time with SuperSport United ended in June 2023, he was a regular visitor to the training ground and stadium to support the team.
We convey our deepest condolences to his family and friends both in South Africa and in Zimbabwe during this difficult and very sad time. May his soul rest in peace.”