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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 March, 2004, 12:04 GMT
CAPS players laid to rest
By Steve Vickers
BBC Sport, Harare

Blessing Makunike's coffin
The coffin of Blessing Makunike who was killed in a car crash

Thousands of football fans attended a memorial service in Harare on Tuesday to pay their last respects to the three players and two fans who died on Sunday in a car accident.

Former national team midfielder Blessing Makunike, striker Shingirai Alron, left-back Gary Mashoko and the two supporters burned to death when their car hit the pillar of a bridge and caught fire.

The tragedy marked the greatest loss of players' lives in a single incident in Zimbabwean football.

National team coach Sunday Marimo was present at the service, along with officials from the Zimbabwe Football Association, Premier Soccer League and Sports Commission.

Former CAPS United players and members of the current team wept openly by the coffins of their team mates.

This is the worst day of my life, but we must all be strong
CAPS United chairman Andy Hodges

Supporters of CAPS United and other clubs also attended, along with Zanu-PF politburo member Professor Nathan Shamuyarira.

"We must accept what God has allowed to happen," said Zifa chairman Rafik Khan.

CAPS United had made a huge investment in new players in a bid to win their first league championship since 1996, and the club had won its first two games of the season.

"This is the worst day of my life, but we must all be strong," CAPS United chairman Andy Hodges told mourners.

The accident happened when the players were travelling back from Bulawayo after winning a league match 2-1.

The three players did not travel in the team bus, and instead joined the two supporters in their car.

Zimbabwe mourns footballers
14 Mar 04  |  African

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