By Charles Mabika
There was an array of slippery left-wingers in the domestic top-flight league in the ‘70s and ‘80s era. They included Highlanders’ Majuta “Jujuju” Mpofu, Mangula’s Alick Masanjala and the Dynamos’ pair of Ernest “Nyamuzihwa” Kamba and Edward “Madhobha” Katsvere.
That impressive list also included Black Aces’ dribbling wizard, Bernard Dzingayi, who passed away on Monday afternoon, just weeks after suffering a stroke at his Mbare home.
He was 69.
Nicknamed “Machipisa,” because of his amazing pace and trickery down the flank, the forward was a founder-member of the brilliant Black Aces side in 1977.
It’s the team, which earned the nickname “Shaisa Mufaro,” because of their dominance over giants like Dynamos, CAPS United, Highlanders and Zimbabwe Saints.
It was especially, in clashes against arch-rivals DeMbare, where Dzingayi really exploded, transforming himself into their tormentor-in-chief, as Aces powered to numerous victories, in league and cup competitions.
A tie between the two Harare sides, during Dzingayi’s heydays at Gwanzura, would always draw huge crowds, to witness the epic clashes.
While the Glamour Boys would look for inspiration, from their creative hub, George “Mastermind” Shaya, Shaisa Mufaro would always be led by “Machipisa,” on the left wing.
Now, and again, he would waltz past his opponents, with his body in a slight hunch, his elbows outstretched and a body swerve that was hypnotic.
He would then send the ball into the penalty box, for his centre strikers, to complete the mission.
And, most of the time Shaya’s magic box would be dwarfed by Dzingayi’s larger container, as Aces sailed to another memorable victory.
Ironically, Dzingayi and Shaya had played in the same first team at Chirodzo Primary School, in their early childhood days.
Their cast also included future household names like David Muchineripi, with whom Dzingayi would continue to partner at Chibuku Shumba, and Black Aces.
Then, there was another former Dynamos forward, Raphael “Tsano” Beira, and ex-Mangula ‘keeper Ramson Kapuwa.
From Chirodzo, Dzingayi continued with his menacing play down the left flank at St. Peter’s Secondary School, also situated in Mbare.
After completing his O’ Levels, he joined the beer-brewing side Salisbury Sables, where he teamed-up with the likes of Daniel “The Rock” Chikanda, Wilson Mhande, Isaac “Batman” Mafaro and Paul “Staff Nurse” Tsumbe.
The pacy winger then caught the attention of Chibuku Shumba, who snapped him up, and he flourished under the astute guidance of player-coach, Mick Poole, who later coached the Warriors in the mid-’80s.
After Chibuku disbanded, at the end of the ‘76 season, Dzingayi became a pioneer of crack side, Black Aces, where he teamed up with the likes of his long-time midfield colleague Muchineripi.
There was also midfielder Clever Hunda, midfield workhorse Roderick “Flying Doctor” Muganhiri, defenders Peter “Skipper” Manyara, Simon Mudzudzu and Fresh Chamarenga.
And, forwards Charles Gwazvo, Wonder Chisetera, July “Jujuju” Sharara and brothers Bernard and George Kuwana.
Manyara, who captained the Highfield club, even claimed Dzingayi was the finest left-winger he had ever watched, and played alongside.
“Those clashes against the big sides like Dynamos, CAPS United, Highlanders, Rio Tinto and Zimbabwe Saints always brought out the best in Dzingayi.
“He was just mesmerising, down that flank, as he left his markers for dead before setting up chances for Gwazo and company.
“Players like him come once-in-a-lifetime,” he said.
Dzingayi was a shy character, off the pitch, but transformed into a terrier, on the pitch, with his vintage performances.
He was forced to hang up his boots, in the early eighties, after a career-ending ankle injury.
He never ventured into coaching and would be often seen watching the Mbare National Soccer League social matches, at nearby Kingston Ground, from his house, every weekend.
And, just as he was during his playing career, he would appear to be in a pensive mood, during and after the matches.
If asked about the current playing standards, and the lack of dribbling artistry down the flanks, it would be just a shake of the head as if to signify “no comment” and then flash a wide grin.
That was “Machipisa” for you, never one to let out his thoughts and comments, into the public.
Family spokesperson and younger brother, Barnabas, said they had been robbed of a special advisor, and public model.
“We are still trying to come to terms with his death because the stroke just came out of nowhere and we all thought that he would recover and continue with his exciting tales of his soccer life.”
Barnabas said “Machpisa’s” burial is set for tomorrow at Granville Cemetery.
Mourners are gathered at No. 6 Mlambo Street in National, Mbare. The Herald