Former Highlanders midfielder Charles Chilufya who died on Sunday morning at University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in his native country Zambia will be laid to rest at Chunga Chingele cemetery in Lusaka on Tuesday.
Former Railstars star and fellow Zambian international Brian Mumba confirmed the death of Chilufya saying the former Bosso man succumbed to a chest illness which he had complained about for the last three months.
He also confirmed ‘Chiefs’ final resting place which is located behind the Independence stadium.
“He (Chilufya) died yesterday (Sunday) morning. He had been complaining of chest pains for the past three months I think. He will be laid to rest tomorrow (Tuesday) at Chunga Chingele cemetery, located behind the Independence stadium,” said Mumba.
Highlanders executive chairman Kenneth Mhlophe said Chilufya’s death was a huge loss to the club like Bosso with a culture of giving it’s sons – the former players an opportunity to coach the club.
Chief, as Chilufya was affectionately known, passed away few hours before his former club beat perennial rivals Dynamos 1-0 in a Chibuku Super Cup first round match played at Rufaro Stadium in Harare to book a place to the quarter final of the competition.
“This is a great loss to the Highlanders family. Chilufya has a special place in the history of the club. For a club like ours that has seen former players coming back to coach the club, I think we have been robbed by death,”
“Who knows? Maybe he would have came back to coach Highlanders had he lived beyond today. I would like to pass my condolences to the Zambian football, the Chilufya family and to all Highlanders supporters for this great loss,” said Mhlophe.
Arguably, Chilufya tops the list of the best players Highlanders have ever imported from Zambia that includes the likes of Kelvin Kaindu, Manase Mwanza, Willie Musuka, Roy Munyati, Dabwitso Nkhoma, Kashinga Mulunda, Mulenga Chewe and most recently Peter Nyirenda.
His roommate during their playing days Melusi ‘Mabaleka’ Sibanda who is now in charge of the club’s developmental side Bosso 90 described the late ‘Chief’ as a footballer who despite being naturally gifted, worked hard with dedication.
“He was a good guy. He was my roommate most of the time we were in camp for our matches. I always tell my boys about him. He used to wake me up at 4am, and ask me to do sit-ups with him. He was an amazing player, I can’t even say there is a match where he was outstanding because he was always in form. May his soul rest in peace,” said Sibanda.
Most Bosso fans will remember him for his decisive penalty against Amazulu in 2001, the year Bosso pipped Amazulu to the wire to bag their third consecutive Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL) title.
Bosso would then win the league the following season for the historic fourth consecutive time.
During his stay at Highlanders he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Thulani ‘Biya’ Ncube, Edmore ‘MaMkhwebu’ Sibanda, Tapiwa Kapini, Bekithemba Ndlovu, Gift Lunga (Jnr), Sizabantu Khoza, Richard Choruma, Blessing Gumiso, Noel Kaseke, Steward Murisa, Eddie Nyika, Eddie Dube, Brito Gweru, Melody Wafawanaka, Adam Ndlovu, Dazzy Kapenya, Melusi Ndebele, Hloniphani Ndebele, Sawuso Phiri among others.