Simba`s industrious midfielder Patrick Mutesa Mafisango (32) died in a car crash in Dar es Salaam yesterday morning.
The former APR, Azam and Rwanda national team’s skipper perished hardly five days after his team were eliminated from the CAF Confederation Cup by Sudanese Club Al Ahly Shandy.
He was one of the two Simba players, including his captain Juma Kaseja, who unfortunately missed penalties that contributed to the team’s downfall in continent’s second tier club league for the season.
The hard working and tireless midfielder, who joined Simba from Azam last season in a swap transfer deal with Abdulhalim, was Simba’s high profile player.
Besides his midfielder’s role, Mafisango was a precious icon for Simba as he netted 12 goals to trail golden boot award winner John Bocco in the just ended season.
He scored three goals in Simba’s Confederation Cup campaign that ended at the hands of the Sudanese club over the weekend.
Known for his agility, versatility and never say die attitude; twice he saved Simba from imminent defeat during Mainland premiership first leg ties against Moro United and Toto Africa during the first half of the season.
Born in Kinshasa on March 9 in 1980, Mafisango had impressed Rwanda Government to naturalise him so as to win a cap in the country’s national soccer team, the Amavubi.
He also featured for DRC’s abd the continent’s premiership giants TP Mazembe before crossing over to Rwanda’s APR.
He donned Rwanda’s national soccer team captaincy for lengthy five-year spell as well APR club. His playing style impressed Dar es Salaam’s top flight side Azam FC who got him on board during the 2010/11 premiership season.
He defied age as his performance kept improving when Simba broke the bank to win his signature for the previous season which he stamped his football authority in a wide dimension.
His performance won the heart of Rwanda’s Serbian coach Sredojevic Milutin, or Micho, who traveled all the way from Kigali to watch the Mainland Tanzania biggest derby of the premiership season on May 6 in Dar es Salaam.
Micho watched the Simba-Yanga derby on the National Stadium stands as he was following the performance levels of Yanga’s midfielder Haruna Niyonzima.
However, after close examination the Serbian coach was instantly impressed by Mafisango’s tenacious ball possession and brilliant control of the midfield.
The coach did not take time before deciding to recall him into the Rwanda national team ahead of next month’s 2014 World Cup qualifier series.
The death of Mafisango has a double blow as both Simba and Rwanda national team are bound to experience a rock solid miss of him.
The arrival of Mafisango was a huge relief to Simba’s midfield woes and proved effective in winning the premiership title for the second time in three seasons.
Mafisango played brilliantly during Simba’s five-goal comprehensive demolition of archrivals Young Africans on May 6 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The player would remain in Simba’s history books as he wrapped up the scoring business after the fifth goal through a penalty against Yanga that sealed off the premiership title in the most ceremonious fashion.
Of all the foreign players Simba have signed during the just ended premiership season, Mafisango was rated as second best in crowd favouritism to Ugandan Emmanuel Okwi.
Death was lined up for Mafisango during the accident as he was trying to avoid a cyclist before his car skidded into the ditch where he died instantly.
It was declared that would be buried in Kinshasa instead of his adopted home of Kigali.
The death of Mafisango triggered shock throughout Tanzania as football fans gathered in groups discussing the player’s untimely demise.
Grief-stricken Simba fans rushed to street vendors in search of his jerseys to keep memorabia for their fallen hero.