By Langton Nyakwenda
Former CAPS United chairman, Shepherd Bwanya, brought in a fresh approach to the game’s administration and his death will be a loss to the local football fraternity, his father, Cornelius, who is a ZIFA life member, has said.
Bwanya, who was CAPS United chairman when the Premiership giants won their first league title since Independence in 1996, died at a Harare hospital yesterday and will be buried at Glen Forest cemetery this afternoon.
He was admitted at West End clinic on Saturday after suffering a stroke.
CAPS United dominated the Premiership in 1996 under the leadership of Bwanya, winning the title with a massive 71 points from 30 games.
Makepekepe also won the BP League Cup, Charity Shield, and the Independence Trophy.
Their star player Stewart Murisa was crowned Soccer Star of the Year while striker Alois Bunjira won the Golden Boot after banging in 23 goals.
Shepherd’s grieving father yesterday chose to celebrate his son’s life and what he had achieved as an administrator.
“The famous saying like father like son aptly describes my relationship with Shepherd. He was a mirror of myself in all principles and aspects.
“He copied me in the way he administered the game, but he did it with added value because of education. His leadership at CAPS United is evident.
“They won the championship and a lot of cups when he was chairman. To me, his death is a personal loss but I think the football fraternity, in general, has been robbed,” said Cornelius.
That CAPS United squad under the guidance of Steve Kwashi had an array of stars, including captain Silver “Bhonzo” Chigwenje, Edelbert Dinha, Mpumelelo Dzowa, Lloyd Chitembwe, Frank “The Dealer” Nyamukuta, Farai Mbidzo, Morgan Nkathazo, Joe “Kode” Mugabe, the late Shingirai Arlon, George Mudiwa, Bunjira and Murisa.
Murisa, whose deadly combination with childhood friend Bunjira catapulted United to dizzy heights, is devastated by Bwanya’s death.
“I can’t believe he is gone. It’s a very big loss to Zimbabwean football. Bwanya was like a father to us at CAPS United,” said Murisa.
“He is the best there can be. He played a very big role in my career and life. I am at a loss for words.”
CAPS United legend Mugabe, expressed shock and sadness at Shepherd’s death.
United States-based coach Charles Mhlauri, who won back-to-back championships with CAPS United, described Shepherd as “a gentleman of the game whose style of administration was admirable’’.
“Although I arrived at CAPS when he had left, he still loved the club and I interacted with Shepherd on and off the game. When I was still at AmaZulu, I always admired how he ran CAPS together with Wellington Dangarembizi.
“It’s a great loss to football and I think he did his part for the game,’’ Mhlauri said.
Football was robbed again on Friday when former AmaZulu and Eiffel Flats deadly striker Saidi Saidi died in a freak accident in Sanyati.
The Kadoma bred Saidi fell off a moving truck which then ran over him.
Mhlauri said Saidi was a unique type of striker, who although he did not score many goals, was instrumental in many of AmaZulu’s victories.
“I was shocked by his death and it is a tragedy the way he passed on. In all my coaching years there was never a moment when I saw Saidi not putting in 100 percent effort.
“I discovered something unique about him that whenever I had Saidi in the team we would create so many chances and he would miss so many of them even though we would go on to win the games.
“Then whenever he was not in the team we would create as many chances and sometimes we would go on to lose those games and I then got to understand that he was good at making runs into scoring positions and to work for the team with his direct attacking play. My thoughts are with his family”, Mhlauri said.
Saidi’s former teammate at AmaZulu and homeboy Herbert Dick was shattered.
“It’s so painful to lose a brother. Saidi was like a brother to me because when I joined AmaZulu in 2000 he was one of the guys who helped me settle,” Dick said.
“He was also a homeboy because we both came from Kadoma. We even shared a house in Mpopoma during our days at AmaZulu.
“It’s sad I couldn’t travel to his funeral because of the Covid-19 restrictions and I can only say go well my big brother,” said Dick.
Saidi was part of the AmaZulu side that won the 2003 league title under Luke Masomere. Ferdinard Mwachindalo, Norman Komani, Sageby Sandaka, Gift Zvavanhu (late), Farai Mujokoro, Esrom Nyandoro, Master Masiku (late), Kenneth Phiri, and Thomas Banda were some of his teammates.
Ex-Chapungu star and 2001 Soccer Star of the Year, Maxwell Dube, and former Highlanders midfielder, Blessing Gumiso, took to Facebook to mourn the late Saidi.
“My deepest condolences. May his soul rest in peace,” wrote Dube.
“RIP my brother, gone too soon Mujombana, till we meet again,” wrote Gumiso. The Sunday Mail