Coach Lovemore Nyabeze collapses, dies
By Sports Reporter
ONE of the most popular and successful coaches to emerge on the Zimbabwe soccer scene, Lovemore Nyabeze, has died. He was in his early 60s. Nyabeze, according to his wife Beauty, collapsed while conducting a training session for his Eastern Region Division One side, Masvingo United, yesterday morning.
He was pronounced dead on arrival at a Masvingo hospital. Nyabeze shot to fame in the early 1970s as a right winger for one of the best teams to come out of Mashonaland West, Mangula United.
A formidable side which boasted yesteryear greats of that era the Chieza brothers Itai, Tendai, Winston and George, Booker Muchenu, Alex Masanjala and Philemon Phiri, Nyabeze was a key figure of the invincible soccer side.
He also turned out for a Bulawayo side known as Eastlands.
His other passion was music and he performed on the Bulawayo circuit for a while, trading his football boots for the guitar in the evenings.
With the likes of Ashton Nyazika and Obadiah Sarupinda, Nyabeze turned a previously unknown quantity which was Caps United into a formidable force with a triumph in a replayed Chibuku Trophy final against Zimbabwe Saints in 1979.
They went on to win the Northern Region and a national league play-off against Chikwata in the same year, heralding new talent in the late Stanley Ndunduma, Joel Shambo, Stix M’tizwa, Shaky Tauro, Stephen Chisango, Duncan Ellison, James Bvumbi and Charles Sibanda.
Talking about Zimbabwe soccer and leaving out Caps United, then known as Rovers, would be injustice to the game and truth. The year 1979 saw the birth of a soccer giant that has stood the test of time and with Dynamos and Highlanders, they are the only three teams that have not been relegated from the elite league since 1980.
After a few years with Caps United and the national Under-20 team, Nyabeze moved to Bata Power, enticing Machona Sibanda and Samson Phiri, among many players from his Under-20 side. They teamed up with former Southern Region and Black Horrors scoring sensation Onias Musana, Ted Ncube and Reuben Tsengwa.
He later moved to Chapungu and coached Bekezela Moyo, Bampton Nchengela, Nkulumo Donga, Jonah Murewa, Toddy Chirwa, Abel Muteji, Cain Muteji and Maxwell Dube. After his time was up with the Air Force of Zimbabwe, Nyabeze worked with several clubs in Masvingo and Midlands provinces.
He coached national teams at Under-20, Under-23 and senior national team level during his time. Beauty left Bulawayo yesterday evening for Masvingo and was not in a position to disclose further details about funeral arrangements.
“I have just arrived from Zambia only to be told he is no more. I spoke to him in the morning and he did not say there was a problem, I am at a loss for words,” she said as tears ran down her face.
Nyabeze also left behind two children. The Chronicle