By Eddie Chikamhi
Warriors legend Sunday Chidzambwa yesterday said his family has been devastated, following the death of his brother, Misheck, an icon of Zimbabwean football.
Misheck, also known as Scania, died on Thursday night, at the age of 66.
He has been unwell, since last year.
Condolence messages have been pouring in as the game grapples with what has become a black month.
Misheck becomes the third Zimbabwean football legend, to die, inside a month.
Another DeMbare and Warriors great, David “Yogi” Mandigora, and the iconic former Dynamos and Warriors coach, Mick Poole, also died, in recent weeks.
Chidzambwa is expected to be buried at his rural home, in Mhondoro, on Monday.
“As a family, we are devastated, it’s sad to lose one of your own,’’ Sunday told The Saturday Herald, yesterday.
“But, we would want to thank the football fraternity for the support, they have rendered to the family, during this dark period.
“We are forever grateful to the Air Force of Zimbabwe, for the role they played throughout, and the doctors who attended him, during his time of sickness.
“We also don’t forget Dynamos Football Club, for what they have done, and Nyaradzo Group for being there for us.’’
Misheck and his elder brother, Sunday, are legends of domestic football.
The late centreback made history by becoming the first captain, to lift silverware with the Warriors, when Zimbabwe won the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup at Rufaro in 1985.
The team was under the tutelage of Poole, who passed away in the United Kingdom last week, at the age of 85.
Misheck hung up his boots in 1987, due to a leg injury.
In the late ‘90s, he was assistant to the late Ian Porterfield, as well as Dutchman Clemence Westerhof, on the Warriors bench.
He took over in 2000.
Interestingly, Zimbabwe’s second piece of silverware came in 2000, when he led the Warriors, to their first COSAFA Cup success.
At club level, Misheck won seven league titles, with his beloved Dynamos.
Deputy Minister of Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation, Tino Machakaire, led the nation, in mourning, yesterday.
“My sincere condolences to the Zimbabwe football fraternity, the Warriors family and the Chidzambwa family, on the untimely passing on of former Warriors captain and coach, Misheck ‘Scania’ Chidzambwa,’’ he said.
“Chidzambwa was the first Warriors captain, to win silverware when Zimbabwe won the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup at Rufaro in 1985.
“His work in Zimbabwean football will forever be remembered. May his soul rest in peace.”
Former Dynamos and Zimbabwe goalkeeper Japhet M’parutsa, who is now based in the United Kingdom, reignited the subject that ZIFA should expedite the setting up of the Hall of Fame.
“Yes, we were in the trenches together. The ups and downs, we stuck together. I strongly feel that anyone who played for the national team, for such a long time, deserves a small pension.
“For Misheck, it was never to be but it is never too late to think about these things.
“We also need a Hall of Fame as a matter of urgency. Let us honour our legends while they are still alive.
“Misheck deserved this honour,” said M’parutsa.
Misheck ventured into coaching, after hanging up his boots.
He had coaching stints with a number of domestic topflight clubs, including Chapungu, Tanganda, Chapungu, Sporting Lions and Blue Ribbon.
He is best remembered in Manicaland for being the first coach to win silverware, after leading Tanganda to the Castle Cup, in 1993.
His last job in the top-flight was with Blue Rangers in 2001.
He resurfaced at Universals, who played in the Harare Professionals Soccer League, where he worked with former Warriors team manager, Sharif Mussa.
“As we mourn the passing of a legend, the first captain to lift silverware with our dear Warriors, and the first coach to also win the COSAFA Cup with our Warriors, I must say I was fortunate to have had a chance to work well with Misheck, in the national team set-up.
“When he retreated from mainstream coaching, Misheck and I reunited in the Harare Professionals Soccer League, where he took charge of Universals FC.
“Although the Harare Professionals Soccer League is made up of part-time footballers, Misheck used the platform to identify, and develop some young talent, which he recommended for clubs in Division One and the Premier Soccer League.
“I will remember Misheck as a fine gentleman, who insisted on discipline, among his players but, at the same time, found a way to allow them to express themselves on the pitch.
“My condolences go to his wife and children, his elder brother Sunday and the Zimbabwean football family at large,” said Mussa.
DeMbare legend, Memory Mucherahowa, who is now based in UK, went down memory lane, in honour of his first captain, at the Harare giants.
“He was my first captain at Dynamos. I played in front of him as a defensive link. He taught me a lot.
“The other day, after the match, he came to me and said, ‘Memo I didn’t hear the breathing today, what was happening?’
“I didn’t play well in that match and that was him Lakaju, as we use to call him.”
ZIFA, the Premier Soccer League and a number of domestic clubs, players and officials, hailed a man who had a huge impact on domestic football.
“Chidzambwa was a dedicated and inspirational Warrior both as a player and coach.
“In 1985, he captained the Warriors to the team’s first silverware, the CECAFA CUP under the tutelage of the recently departed Mick Poole.
“In 2000, he coached the Warriors to their first-ever COSAFA title. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the departed legend in this period of grief.
“While we mourn the sad loss of a larger-than-life Warrior, we derive some solace from the indelible legacy of winning ‘firsts’ that shall immortalise him in Zimbabwean football.
“The culture of winning cultivated by Chidzambwa and his teammates, in the early days of independence, continues to drive the association’s work today as Zimbabwe keeps rising towards becoming a giant on the continent,” said ZIFA in a statement.
Dynamos also sent their condolence to the family.
“We are saddened by the passing away of a great player and coach Misheck Chidzambwa.
“Chidzambwa won seven titles with us, was the first Warriors captain to win silverware and first Warriors coach to win COSAFA Cup,” said the statement from the Glamour Boys.
Highlanders also paid tribute to the gentle giant.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Chidzambwa family, and the entire Zimbabwean football fraternity, following the shocking passing on of the Warriors former captain and legend, Misheck Chidzambwa.
‘’May his dear soul Rest in Peace!” Bosso said in their statement.
Misheck is survived by his wife, Eusebia.
The couple had two children, Takudzwa and Tsitsi, and one grandchild.
Mourners are gathered at house number 10 Samanyanga Close Zengeza 5, Chitungwiza. The Herald