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Butler Masango laid to rest

By Tadious Manyepo

The sight of 96-year-old Butler Masango’s father, Enias, vigorously scratching his head while paying his last respects to his son was as heartrending as it was sad.

FITTING TRIBUTE . . . Former CAPS United striker Alois Bunjira (forefront) speaks during the funeral of former teammate and friend Butler Masango at Mupandenyama Village in Chiweshe yesterday in the presence of (from left) CAPS United coach Darlington Dodo, ex-players Patridge Muskwe, Joseph Takaringoka, Pardon Chivasa and Robert Gede. — Picture by Edward Zvemisha. T
FITTING TRIBUTE . . . Former CAPS United striker Alois Bunjira (forefront) speaks during the funeral of former teammate and friend Butler Masango at Mupandenyama Village in Chiweshe yesterday in the presence of (from left) CAPS United coach Darlington Dodo, ex-players Patridge Muskwe, Joseph Takaringoka, Pardon Chivasa and Robert Gede. — Picture by Edward Zvemisha.

He couldn’t utter a word in the aftermath.

The elderly, especially men, rarely shed tears but he did. With a stick in his right hand, he was in pain and looked confused.

Probably what ailed him most was the fact that he only got to know of Butler’s death without getting any hint whatsoever of his illness.

As Butler’s brother, Kushinga, said, the family wouldn’t let him know for obvious reasons.

“I am based here in Chiweshe and I stay with my father and a domestic worker,” he said. “At first we didn’t know of Butler’s illness until two weeks ago on a Friday.

“As a family, we decided not to divulge it to our father. He is old and we couldn’t risk telling him such delicate issues. Unfortunately, Butler died and we had to tell him.

“He (father) flatly refused to accept it.

“He said he would only take it after seeing Butler’s dead body even when people gathered all week at our homestead.”

Yesterday was the day for Butler’s father to “accept” that his son is really gone.

At the end of it all, he didn’t share whatever went through his mind as he froze, staring at his son’s remains in a white casket.

His actions underlined the sombre atmosphere that engulfed the Mupandenyama Village in Chiweshe when the former CAPS United, Black Aces and Rufaro Rovers man was finally laid to rest yesterday.

Masango, who was involved in nurturing talent in South Africa, died of a heart ailment at the age of 48 last week.

His body was flown into the country on Saturday afternoon before proceeding for burial in his rural home in Chiweshe yesterday.

And former and current footballers were part of the people who thronged the Masango homestead to pay their last respects to the man who was an integral part of the famed Zimbabwe Under-23 team which claimed silver at the All-Africa Games hosted in Zimbabwe in 1995.

His long time friend Alois Bunjira said Masango scored what to him remains the best goal he has ever seen when they were both turning out for an Under-14 team in Chitungwiza.

“We were trailing 4-3 and we agreed as a team to remove our boots for we thought they were slowing us down,” said Bunjira.

“Soon after we removed the boots, he (Masango) connected a howitzer on the volley that hit the roof of the net to force a share of the spoils.

“Those were the first days of our relationship. We would play together and when he came to South Africa we also used to chill together.

“We were always in touch and you know it’s painful to lose a loved one.”

Besides Bunjira, former CAPS United player Patridge Muskwe, CAPS United coach Darlington Dodo and Makepekepe’s ex-midfielder Joseph “Shabba” Takaringofa also made the long trip to Chiweshe.

Masango’s daughter, Chido, said she will miss her father.

“He was a pillar of the family and I don’t know how we will be able to cope as a family,” she said. “He has left a huge void in our family. He was a loving father, we were very close and I feel blank at the moment.

“I feel for the players he was grooming in South Africa.

“I am not really into football but l know that he was into developing talent.

“When we were still in South Africa, some of the guys came and they were really down.

“He trained some underprivileged young players for free, we are really saddened.”

His first wife Janet, with whom Butler was still married to, said: “I still love you, my husband. Go well. We shared everything since I was a young girl, 17 years to be specific. Look after our children.”

Masango is survived by his wife Nyarai Pemba and three children Tinotenda Butler (Jnr), Chido (from his first marriage with Janet) and Gladys.

Unlike Butler, son Tinotenda is not into football but is making his case into celebrity life.

Find out what is he up to in our tomorrow’s edition of The Herald. The Herald

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