Netball family mourns Jani

Pauline Jani

THE netball family was yesterday thrown into mourning following the death of former national team goal shooter Pauline Jani.

Jani passed on in the early hours of yesterday at Parirenyatwa Hospital after an undisclosed illness.

She was 34.

Jani was a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and was turning out for their outfit ZRP Mambas in the Rainbow Netball League.

ZRP Sports Director Abel Chimukoko said they have lost one of their best players who would go the extra mile, even when she was not well, to assist the team.

“She passed on around 3am at Parirenyatwa. She was admitted on Thursday last week.

“She was coughing and vomiting, that is what she was complaining about. Then she went to the police hospital at Morris Depot; that was on Wednesday and she was admitted and (on Thursday) she was referred to Parirenyatwa but her condition continued to deteriorate.

“We have lost one of our best players, our key player. With Pauline, we knew as long as she was in the game she would deliver.

“Even at Mambas, even though it was on and off because of sickness, Mambas Netball Queens have been playing very well, including at the SARPCCO Games. She was a key player. She was one of the best shooters even in the national team; she was so good.

“She was so humble, reserved… It’s a huge loss for us. It’s going to take us ages to find someone like Pauline,” said Chimukoko.

Jani played for the national team for more than a decade and was part of the history making Gems side that competed at the 2019 Netball World Cup in England, and finished eighth.

Prior to joining Mambas, she had played for several clubs including Gaths Mine, which was her first club in 2009, when she was still in high school at Pamushana. She also turned out for Shangani Mine and Railstars.

Former Gems captain Perpetua Siyachitema described Jani as a talented player.

“I knew Pauline for a long time. She was more like a sister because when I first met her she was very young. So, instead of her being my friend, I took her as my sister.

“Pauline was a friendly person, a person who was loved by everyone and a very talented netball player. 

“She was fierce and defenders were afraid of her. Even the well-known defenders in Africa were scared of Pauline because she was just amazing. She was an amazing player. I think we have lost a great player,” said Siyachitema.

In their statement on Facebook, Zimbabwe Netball Association said netball has lost a true gem.

“Today, (yesterday) the Zimbabwe netball community mourns the loss of a true gem who has left an indelible mark on the sport and on our hearts.

“From her first game to her last, Pauline played with unwavering determination, showcasing the spirit of a true sportswoman.

“We find solace in the memories we’ve shared and the legacy she leaves behind. Her contribution to the sport, her passion for the game, and her love for the team will forever be remembered.

“We extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends, and all who knew and loved her.

“Rest in eternal peace, Pauline. You will always be remembered and forever missed.”

Gems captain Felisitus Kwangwa also paid tribute to Jani.

“We all know that one day we are going to leave this world, but it is hard to say goodbye to our loved ones.

“Wishing the Jani and Zimbabwe netball family peace and strength during this difficult time.

“May you rest easy in grace and love our Gem.”

The Confederation of Southern Africa Netball Associations joined the netball family in mourning Jani describing her as a star. “We mourn the loss of the young Gems netball star (Zimbabwe Netball team) shooter Pauline Jani aka Gafa as she was profoundly known to her team mates. MHSRIP.”

Burial arrangements will be announced in due course and mourners are gathered at Highfield new police camp.


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