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Guava was a natural leader, says ex-coach

By Tadious Manyepo

As Black Rhinos legend Gift “Guava” Kamuriwo’ s body was being lowered into its grave at Glen Forest Cemetery yesterday, one man’s troubled face told a big story.

The late Gift “Guava” Kamuriwo
The late Gift “Guava” Kamuriwo

His former coach, Droment Chirova.

Chirova guided Kamuriwo for about five years, in the early 2000s, and appointed him captain of the army club in 2002.

“I am distraught and at a loss for words,” said Chirova.

It was during his stint as Rhinos coach that Chirova lured Kamauriwo from AirZim Jets.

He built a strong team around the former Mhangura player.

Ephraim Mazarura, Simba Manzungu, Melody Wafawanaka, Nicholas Gora, Brighton Chandisaita, Lazarus Muhoni, Menard Mupera, Rowan Nenzou, Eddie Nyika and Eddie Dube were part of the project.

“Up to now, I am wondering how we failed to win several accolades, let alone the Premiership crown.

“For some time in the local league, we were a dominant force.

“Kamuriwo was a very quiet character. We had so many players who had the requisite leadership qualities, within our team, and when the time to select the team captain arrived, you know it was very difficult.

“But, something kept telling me that Kamuriwo would be able to lead the pack and I gave a suggestion to the players who all came out saying they also had him on top.

“That’s how we arrived at the decision to make Kamuriwo the captain.”

And, he didn’t disappoint either, on and off the field of play.

“With Kamuriwo, as captain, and surrounded by natural leaders like Muhoni (Lazarus), Wafawanaka (Melody), Nyika (Eddie), it was a very good unit.’’

Chirova said they should have won a lot of silverware.

“The team played with so much style and the players had so much talent,’’ the coach said.

“This remains the second-best Black Rhinos team after that one led by the legendary Stanford ‘Stix’ Mtizwa of the 1980s.

“We reached so many cup finals but, somehow, we couldn’t really clear the final hurdles.

“Even in the league, despite playing well, we also finished second to Highlanders in 2002, in a season we were playing good football, even better than Bosso but well, that was it.

“I however remain proud of that achievement.

“Despite taking home so many silver medals, including in the league, most of my players, including captain Kamuriwo, were making the cut in the Warriors squad.

“Of course in 2004 we won the Independence Trophy but I still feel we should have done better than that.’’

Chirova, who was also a development coach, nurtured the likes of Jack Mutandagayi, Chandisaita, Wafawanaka, Nenzou, and Ndega Matsika. The Herald