By Robson Sharuko
In the early hours of Sunday morning, with the majority of Harare in dreamland, one of the finest feel-good stories in the history of Zimbabwean football was completed under a clear moonlit December night.
Somehow, for one reason or another, fate conspired to ensure the final episode would be written in December – the very month, exactly 10 years ago, when Nyasha Mushekwi completed his final full season at CAPS United.
Although Mushekwi featured for the Green Machine in 2010, his swansong lasted only six months, as he left for the greener pastures of South Africa, where he joined Mamelodi Sundowns.
That was the starting point of an adventure that would take him to Sweden, Belgium and China with his tour of duty having already seen him scoring more than 100 goals for his foreign clubs. But, Mushekwi, who quit international football after the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt this year, has never forgotten his roots.
And he has become the first Zimbabwean footballer to significantly invest in his old club.
His decision to splash US$120 000 into acquiring a state-of-the-art 45-seater luxury bus for CAPS United has been commended by many in the domestic football family.
And, after months of waiting, the customised bus – which rolled off the assembly plant in China in September, and was branded in the CAPS United colours in South Africa, was finally delivered into the custody of the Green Machine officials.
The Harare giants, who lead the championship race with a two-point cushion with two games to play in the marathon, are now set to officially unveil the luxury coach at the National Sports Stadium this morning.
Mushekwi, who flew from his Chinese base to help in clearing the coach’s entry into Zimbabwe and will give a keynote address at the unveiling ceremony, told The Herald he felt relieved when he finally delivered the bus into the hands of the CAPS United officials.
‘‘It just felt good to fulfill what we had promised, to deliver what we had said we would give to the team and that happened in the early hours of Sunday,’’ Mushekwi said.
‘‘I was very tired, there was so much that I had to do in just a few days but once we delivered the bus, it felt like it was worth every hour that we had spent to make sure that we get it here.
‘‘There was a lot that we had to do and by the time we got to Harare, just after midnight, I can tell you that I was very, very tired, in fact, I have never felt so tired.
‘‘But, the good thing is that the bus is here, which is what we promised a few months ago, and hopefully it will inspire the club, which remains special to me, to win more trophies because that is what clubs like CAPS United should do since they have a huge support base.’’
Mushekwi revealed the bus was driven from Beitbridge Border Post to Bulawayo, where the crew stopped for the night on Friday, before proceeding to Harare on Saturday.
‘‘The carrier took the bus to Beitbridge and from there it was driven to Bulawayo and then on Saturday it left for its final leg and we arrived in Harare just after midnight,’’ he said.
‘‘The initial plan was that the bus be driven from Beitbridge to Harare, but some people were concerned about the state of the road and that’s why we ended up taking it to Bulawayo and then to Harare.
‘‘This is just my appreciation of what CAPS United did for me, how they accepted me and gave me a home and I will never forget the part the club played in grooming me into the footballer that I became.’’
The unveiling of the bus today also comes exactly 10 years after Mushekwi enjoyed his most prolific season at the Green Machine and helped them finish third in the championship race with 51 points, 10 points behind surprise champions Gunners who were under the guidance of Moses Chunga.
Ironically, Chunga was the one who had given Mushekwi his breakthrough as a professional footballer when many doubted him and claimed he was just a basketball star trying his luck in the national game.
Between the 20th to the 27th game, in 2009, Mushekwi scored 12 goals for the Green Machine in eight league matches, firing hattricks in the 4-3 win over Monomotapa and the 3-0 victory over Kiglon.
His goal-scoring spree saw him score against Dynamos, Monootapa (3), Njube Sundowns, Shooting Stars, Highway (2), Kiglon (3) and Lengthens.
Only the Highlanders defence found a way to stop him during that magical run.
Mushekwi had originally wanted to have the bus delivered by the end of October but he revealed some of the processes took longer than he had anticipated.
‘‘Remember, this is a team bus for a professional football club and it had to be fitted with things that will make the boys feel comfortable on their trips when they are going for their assignments,’’ he revealed.
‘‘It’s God’s work, CAPS United put me on the map, I’m thankful to God for this opportunity and I know the situation back home and it’s like, as and when, I can help, I should be able to do so.
‘‘God is always doing amazing things, we give praise to Him.’’ CAPS United have been using the bus they received from Nyaradzo Funeral Group in June 2013 as their team bus.
‘‘I love my team, they are my team and they gave me an opportunity to be who I am and I can never forget what they did to me and it’s important that the new generation of players should also be inspired that, if they work hard, they can go places and, maybe, one day, they can also give back to the team,’’ he said.
‘‘CAPS United is a big brand and it’s a huge family and we are all part of it, including those fans who cheer the team week in and week out, and it’s important that we keep the team moving forward because, before us, there were some people who were playing for this team and helped it to be what it is.
‘‘We then came along and we found it in good shape and the next generation should also find it in good shape and those who can do something should be able to help this team.’’
CAPS United are a private football franchise owned by Farai Jere, the Premier Soccer League chairman, and businessman, Nhamo Tutisani. The Herald