By Lovemore Dube
Being the son of a celebrated athlete has its own pressures. The world expects you to be better than your dad and that added pressure has worn out a number of promising talents.
Mayfield Daka, a former Fire Batteries, Highlanders, Kango and Railstars utility player says being the son of Barry Daka, a Zimbabwe footballing legend who enjoyed successes as a player and coach, exerted a lot of pressure on him during his formative years in the game.
“Everyone expected me to do the things that my dad did on the field. Expectations were that he had been reincarnated in me yet there can only be one Barry Daka. It really put a lot of pressure on my shoulders, I was expected to deliver the day Bulawayo and football got to know I was Barry’s son when I joined the Highlanders juniors.
“I heard a lot about how brilliant he was on the field. Never on any day did I and my elder brother Billy want to be compared to him. We just wanted to play the game as ourselves judged objectively on our own merits,” said Mayfield.
Mayfield believes the pressure was not peculiar to his family but many children of former footballers. He said many tend to show good signs at an early age but fizzle out later when the father’s influence overbears.
He is not the only son of a former footballing great as there are some like Bennedict, the late Benjamin, Blessing and Brian Moyo, sons of the legendary Paul Moyo, Derek Phili son of Ebson “Sugar” Muguyo, Innocent Chikoya (David George), Clarkson Dzimbiri (late Ephraim Dzimbiri), Nhlanhla Mooki (Lucky Dube), Mbongeni (Bekithemba Ndlovu), Denis (Simeon Ndlovu), Adolf (Akim Muganyi), Thabani, Elvis and Kelvin (Bishop Moyo former Eagles defender),
Thabani Sibanda (Nicodemous Sibanda), Fungai Tostao (Steve), Walter Chuma (Chris Yoyo), Wisdom (Lloyd Mutasa), Thembinkosi “Tinkler” (Amos Rendo), Brett (Hussein Amidu), Edmore Thamsanqa (Lemmy Mnenekwa) and Lionel (Stix M’tizwa) all had this hanging over their careers, a comparison with their illustrious dads. It remains debatable whether some of them eclipsed levels reached by their fathers.
“We played at different times, dynamics in the game have changed, so it’s not fair for youngsters to be compared to their dads,” added Mayfield.
He shone in his early days at Robert Tredgold Primary School in Makokoba. He played with the likes of Waynne Albertyn, Bruce Smith and Craig Payne in school colours and would after school hang out with boys in the streets of Mzilikazi where the game enjoyed religion status.
“I found myself playing with the likes of Sherperd Mabaleka, Gift Lunga (Jnr), Vusumuzi Young Siziba, Gratitude Nhliziyo, Zenzo Moyo and Kelvin Maseko in the Bosso juniors and in the streets of the ghetto where we tried all tricks we saw in Super League matches,” said the former left wing forward and defender.
Gifted with good ball control, good pass and crosses, Mayfield was part of the 1991 St Columbu’s team that lost in the Under-16s to Mzilikazi High School in a tournament. In that squad he had Eddie Mukahanana and Matambanashe Sibanda.
“Mzilikazi were no pushovers. St Columbu’s apart from guys like Tanny Banda before us, did not have a footballing history, great talents came in bits unlike Mzilikazi who had a deliberate policy to capture the best Grade Sevens and secondary school boys for their talent. We had great run and I am not surprised guys like Matambanashe and Eddie Mukahanana went on to star in the Premiership,” he said.
In 1991 he was part of the Bosso Under-16s who had the likes of Mlamuli Ncube, former Soccer Star of the Year and top goal scorer Zenzo Moyo, Melusi Ndebele, Nqobile Luphahla and Bumper Nhliziyo.
In his final secondary year, that is 1992, Mayfield found little time to train with Highlanders and joined Stops. He would be fielded without training with the team under coach the late Riot Ncube.
Mayfield was called up in probably the first Under-17 national team with the likes of Edzai Kasinauyo (deceased) and Fungai Kwashi for a junior qualifier against Madagascar. He does not regret not being part of the final team but says if he had cheated his way into it, he could have gone places.
“What happened there is sad. So many of the boys called up to that team tinkered with their date of birth to qualify. I was turning 17 that year and there was a proposal for me to change my age but my dad was against it.
“Most of the guys from that team went on to play for the Under-20s and 23s. I could have been a bigger hit than what I got to be but from that early stage of my life I appreciated the true values of the game — Fair Play. Barry is a disciple of that. It was sad seeing some of my teammates with good grades at O-level discarding their certificates as they used siblings’ birth certificates,” said Mayfield.
He said during his time it was sad to see some players cheating themselves with as much as six years just to stay in the junior ranks. He said age cheating must be rooted out of the game as it denies legitimate players a chance to play as it also stunts their growth.
The scorer of many thunderous goals from a distance, said the national team camp opened a door for him. Fire Batteries owner Lovemore Gijima Msindo identified him and invited Mayfield to his club.
“He watched me train with the team and thought I was good enough for his project. Msindo enrolled me at Foundation College to continue with my studies. My elder brother Billy was already there, though he would later play for Triangle and Black Leopards of South Africa in the formative years.
“It was a good team. Can you imagine joining a team with Charles Yohane and Innocent Chikoya who would both star in South Africa and national colours. There were so many talented players like Hussein Amidu, Mike Maringa, Archbald Chashaya, Tapera Madzima, Lewis Kutinyu, Austin Juwayeyi and Alwyn Mushangazhike,” he said.
He was to debut as left wing against Tongogara and more appearances followed.
“Unfortunately the going was tough. We were headed to relegation and we went down in 1994. The following year I returned to Bulawayo and joined Kango while studying accounts at Bulawayo Polytechnic.”
Mayfield is not surprised that most of his teammates like Gilbert Mushangazhike, Maringa, Chikoya and Yohane played outside the country.
“Msindo identified the best youngsters and had a good coach in John Rugg, undoubtedly the best gaffer I worked under.”
In 1996 Railstars came calling and signed him and he was part of the great side that won promotion in 1997 and the Centenary Celebration Trophy beating Bosso 5-4 on penalties.
“That was my best season. I played with young guys I came from the juniors with. We were a motivated young team that had Mtshawa (Kelvin Maseko), Master Masiku, Godfrey Maphosa, Wisdom Sibanda and Tirivaviri Sithole,” he said.
He remembers a 2-0 defeat to Dynamos in the 1998-99 season as one of his best.
“That team reached the Champions League final and we went toe to toe with them. It was no surprise that after the match the late DeMbare chairman Morrison Sifelani wanted to sign Masiku and Maseko,” Mayfield said.
What motivated him to move to Railstars was the competition between the railwaymen and AmaZulu who took half of Kango along.
“I had a point to prove. I wanted to play at the highest level too,” he said.
Railstars were relegated in 2002 to the Zifa Southern Region Division One League and returned with a vengeance the following year. Mayfield and Sithole were the visible senior players still left but he had prior to that had a stint with his childhood side Highlanders in 1999.
Mayfield speaks highly of the Zambian trio Mulenga Chewe, Charles Chilufya and Anderson Phiri.
“They were absolute professionals. Hardworking and disciplined laced with a great work rate, it was a delight working with them at Railstars. Chewe, Collin Nyambiya came from the Midlands to add depth,” he added.
The match he would like to forget was the 4-1 drubbing by Ziscosteel.
“We looked on course to win as we had coasted to a 1-0 lead by the 75th minute. But what happened in the final 10 minutes is a horror movie script.
“Zisco scored four great goals in the last 10 minutes of the game. It was thunderous shots one after the other and we left the place humiliated by our monumental fall.
Cabin Masimbe, Collin Nyambiya, Chewe, Billy Chikabalala and Godfrey Tamirepi ran rings around our defence,” said Mayfield, a passionate junior development and community sport proponent who works with SportsPlus in Bulawayo in a number of sporting endeavours.
He has praises for Cosmas Zulu, the late Lindile Dube and Rahman Gumbo of the coaches he worked under. Mayfield retired at the age of 29 in 2005 to take up a role as club manager at Railstars. At the moment he is the administrator of Sabona Mzilikazi, a Bulawayo Division Two side. The 44-year-old says today’s football is boring because of the emphasis on results.
“All the coaches want are results. The game is so defensive that it sends one to sleep. There are no more goals, safety is what is in the players and coaches’ minds,” said Mayfield.
On today’s Warriors match against Congo-Brazzaville, Mayfield believes the team has a great chance to at least get a draw. But he warned the boys to guard against complacency. Sunday News.