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For Highlanders, it’s the vintage image worth a thousand words…Sadly, football super fan Augustine Moyo is no more

By Robson Sharuko

IT’S one of the vintage images of the domestic Premiership — shirtless, euphoric, ecstatic, the body and the soul united in a fiery explosion of boundless joy.

RAW BOUNDLESS PASSION . . . If there is any picture that really captures the great romance between Highlanders and its fans, then it has to be this one, captured by the Gemazo photographer at Rufaro, where this former ZINARA executive, Augustine Moyo, shirtless and pregnant with emotion, screams after Bosso scored against DeMbare (Picture by Gemazo)

A perfect advertisement, if the league needed one, of the presence of die-hard fans who still love its product even in an era where it has suffered spectator flight with many choosing to switch their allegiance elsewhere.

A reminder, if Highlanders needed one, of the special relationship which exists between this iconic football club and those who support it — in good and bad times.

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A perfect response, if Bosso required one, to those who seemingly prefer to just see the hooligans, among their fans, and use that to paint the identity of their entire support base.

Like that unrepentant fool, back in September 2016, who raised a shocking placard at Barbourfields, during a league match between Highlanders and Dynamos, pregnant with tribal vitriol in which he described Shona people as “DOGS” and “BABOONS.”

The moron who, refreshingly, was disowned by the Bosso leadership who said the imbecile’s toxic views did not represent the views of the majority of their fans and their proud multi-ethnic football institution.

“From time immemorial, we have always had very good and special players from the Shona-speaking tribe and, so for us, it is neither here nor there,’’ the then Bosso, chief executive, Ndumiso Gumede, who is now the club’s president, said in a very strong response.

“We even have a song “Highlanders Team Yenyika Yese” so this has always been our position as a club. We condemn, in the strongest of terms, any persons who may imply that our team is tribally-biased.

“The pity is that we do not know him (the supporter), but that is unacceptable. The police can go and get him and say, this behaviour, we don’t want it at football matches.

“If the supporters can identify him, we will de-register him if he is a member of Highlanders because he doesn’t belong here and has no place at the club.”

For some of the blinkered critics, that charlatan, whose sickening placard caused quite a stir it even forced the Government to offer a response condemning his act, remains a symbol of a good number of the Bosso fans.

But, nothing can be further from the truth.

Because, the reality is that there is quite a huge army of Bosso fans who are good, committed and passionate supporters of this club, a people allergic to acts of hooliganism and all of that tribal nonsense.

These are the fans who form the majority, at this proud football institution, whose beautiful stories are rarely told in a world obsessed with negativity. A people for whom Bosso is much more than just a football club but clearly a way of life. Augustine Moyo, a journalist and public relations executive, who died in Harare on Monday evening, was one such fellow.

The one whose iconic image, topless and in full cry at Rufaro, standing on the rails of the old stadium, his black-and-white Bosso replica shirt tucked in his right hand, like a treasured possession worth every one of its stitch in gold.

His left hand on the shoulder, of a fellow supporter, using it to balance his delicate posture.

That he could have plunged head-first, to his possible death, in the event he had slipped, didn’t matter. In that instance, all that mattered was his expression of love for his club, which had just scored a goal at the stadium which represents the fortress, when it comes to his team’s biggest opponents, Dynamos.

He appears lost in a daze, in that priceless golden moment, blown away by the beauty of the occasion, swept away by the force of the delirium, lost in his own world where all that mattered was the power of his romance with his beloved football club.

That moment where every word, uttered by former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly, who laid the foundation for the Reds’ dominance of England and Europe later, under Bob Paisley and Joe Fagan, comes true.

“Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that,” Shankly famously said.

“Above all, I would like to be remembered as a man who was selfless, who strove and worried so that others could share the glory, and who built up a family of people who could hold their heads up high and say “We’re Liverpool.”

The irony of it is that Augustine Dalubuhle Moyo was also a Liverpool fan.

He was eight when his beloved Reds last won the league title, in the same year Bosso also won their first league title, and had been waiting for years for his two teams to deliver on that front again.

Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to see his Reds officially end their 30-year wait for the English Premiership title.

“Shankly created the idea of Liverpool, transforming the football club by emphasising the importance of the Kop and making supporters feel like participants.” Tony Evans of The Independent newspaper, once noted.

Evans could have been writing about Bosso and how this club have placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of Soweto and making their fans, like Moyo, feel like big participants in the team’s affairs. For Moyo, that he had transformed himself from a journalist at The Sunday Mail, into a leading executive at the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority, before he left the organisation late last year, didn’t matter when it came to his love affair with Highlanders.

Everything was dumped, the business suits, the business culture, and replaced by this character, powered only by his love for his football club, a fan as passionate as they will ever come to the Bosso cause.

In good and bad times,

Trips from Harare to Bulawayo, to watch his team play at home, were as frequent as his appearances at Rufaro or the National Sports Stadium, whenever Bosso were in town.

“We have learnt with sadness and disbelief the passing on of one of our staunch supporters Augustine Moyo,’’ Highlanders said on Twitter.

“The club, and football in general, have been robbed of an always jovial and passionate fan of the game. May the dear soul of Augustine Rest in Peace!’’ He called himself “Dalu 7” and he leaves a legacy. That enduring image, which will forever be used to show the special love affair between Bosso and some of their biggest fans.

And, also to debunk the theory the domestic Premiership doesn’t have true fans anymore. The Herald