By Charles Mabika
GONE too soon. At the age of 55, Dynamos midfield legend Biggie Zuze, who passed away on Thursday after a short illness, still had a lot to offer to Zimbabwean football.
He still had a lot to offer to all the upcoming youngsters at his beloved club, where he was assistant to head coach Tonderai “Stanza” Ndiraya.
The man, for whom I originally coined the nickname “Bindura” (in one of my radio commentaries for ZBC) after he had arrived at DeMbare as a shy player in the early 80s from Bindura, was a great character.
He always thrilled the Glamour Boys’ faithful with his endless energy and Trojan horse performances week-in-and-week-out.
Soon, after his arrival at DeMbare, he was joined by his younger brother, Garikayi, an exciting right winger.
I then decided to call Biggie “Bindura Part 1” and Garikayi became “Bindura Part 2” and the two immediately struck up a menacing combination.
The two nicknames were almost similar and always gave me a chuckle in my commentaries involving Dynamos.
For example, Biggie was in possession, I would say something like this, ”Bindura Part 1 wins a midfield duel and strides forward, then he pushes the ball through to Bindura Part 2, as DeMbare build up an attack . . .”
Although their partnership was eye-catching, whenever they appeared in front of the appreciative Blue Army, it was Biggie who seemed to have more influence when the side was in full cry.
When he arrived in the capital, most of the team’s fans were still recovering from the shock of losing five of their star players — ’keeper Japhet Mparutsa, defenders Simon Mugabe, Lovemore Chikunha and Eddie Matsika, midfielder Hamid Dhana and forward David Mukahanana — to newly-formed army side, Black Rhinos, at the end of the 1983 season.
For some, the future looked bleak.
But, the introduction of the new midfield duo of Biggie Zuze and Kenneth Jere, who teamed up with the more experienced David Mandigora, Clayton Munemo and stylish talisman Moses Chunga, rejuvenated the Glamour Boys.
Biggie did his best to carve his name into the hearts of the Dynamos fans with some fine performances and was rewarded with success both on the local, and continental, fronts as his side ruled supreme, especially on the domestic scene, for many years.
He was a tireless terrier on the pitch, who remains as the biggest find of the game from Mashonaland Central.
He just hated losing and would make life difficult for his opponents with his relentless performances throughout the match.
And, on and off the pitch, he always wore a broad smile for friend and foe alike.
Perhaps, that was his intimate way of revealing to the world that this game was just that — beautiful — and had to be enjoyed to the full, whether a team was winning or ending.
He was never one to shy away from interviews. And, boy, did he love to talk about his “rags-to-riches” story, from humble beginnings in Bindura to the roller-coaster drives in the Dynamos juggernaut, to anyone who cared to listen.
When he hung up his boots, and ventured into coaching, Zuze was the same old smiling practitioner as he took charge at top-flight sides Monomotapa and Triangle United.
He, however, continued with his love affair for the Glamour Boys.
Now and again, when the teams he coached took on DeMbare, he would be found caught in between joy and sadness.
An example of his undying passion, and love for his beloved club, was laid bare after The Sugar Sugar Boys (then under his mentorship) beat Dynamos after a penalty shootout in the NetOne OneWallet Cup in 2014.
He cried and revealed to me, in the post-match media interview, that his tears were a mixture of joy and sadness.
The joy that his Triangle outfit had, at last, bagged their first big silverware and sad that his “other beloved team” had, unfortunately, been at the receiving end.
So, it was no surprise that he kept coming back to DeMbare to coach on various occasions.
He just couldn’t stay away from its blue scent.
“It’s going to be an uphill task at the club because he was such a guiding influence for all of us,’’ said Tonderai Ndiraya, the DeMbare head coach. I just hope and pray that God will give us the strength to carry forward all his brilliant ideas as we soldier on without him from now onwards.’’
When legendary musician, Zexie Manatsa, churned his ’90s hit single “Munhu Akanaka Haararame” he said “kunosara mhondi nevaroyi”.
In short, he said the good fellows do not live long while the devils remain around forever.
I wonder whether the bearded veteran singer had Biggie Zuze in mind when he penned that classic song. The Herald