TAURAI Mangwiro has heaped praise on former teammate and Dynamos assistant coach, the late Biggie Zuze, saying he was a star player during his playing career in the early 1980s, but whose talent was unfortunately overshadowed by other brilliant players of his era.
BY HENRY MHARA
Zuze died on Thursday afternoon in Harare at the age of 55 after experiencing breathing difficulties.
Post-mortem results indicated that the former Bindura United and Dynamos midfield workhorse succumbed to pulmonary clot, a condition that occurs when one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by a blood clot, thus damaging part of the lung and other organs as well as decreasing oxygen levels in the blood.
He will be buried in his rural home in Bindura, Mashonaland Central province, today.
Mangwiro, who played with the man nicknamed Bindura or Nzou in football circles, before working with him on the technical bench at Monomotapa in 2011, said Zuze’s star could have shown brighter.
Zuze was part of a generation of fine players at the Glamour Boys who included Mangwiro, Moses Chunga, Lloyd “Samaita” Mutasa, Clayton Munemo, Elvis Chiweshe, Francis Shonhayi, Peter Fanwell, Lucky Dube, Leon Ntawantawa, Kenneth Jere, Joshua Mhizha, Kembo Chunga, Memory Mucherahowa, Charles Chirwa, Gift Mpariwa, David Mandigora and his brother Garikai.
Mangwiro said had Zuze played his football with the current generation, he could have made an even bigger impact.
“He was quite an effective midfielder overshadowed at club level by the likes of Moses Chunga, Clayton Munemo, Samaita and Memory Mucherahowa, who was the captain of the team,” the Triangle gaffer reckons.
“He was overshadowed by those players, but he was playing regularly for the team. Then at national level, we had the likes of Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa, Titus Majola and Anthony Kambani. These were guys that were also excelling at their respective clubs and would hog the limelight.
“Those were the people who would go on to outshine him, but not because he was bad, but it was because there was abundance in talent during that time. If he had played during the period that we are in, he would have been a star.
He would have made more impact than he did because during that period, there were far too many good players.”
Zuze might have made his name playing for Dynamos after joining from hometown team Bindura United, but also enjoyed an illustrious coaching career.
He started his coaching career with the Dynamos juniors, and together with Munemo, they are credited with nurturing the likes of Desmond Maringwa, Murape Murape, Philemon Mutyakureva and Francis Madziva, players who went on to do well for the club’s senior team.
He also teamed up with Munemo and Malcolm Fourie to set up the famed Dynamos Kidznet team, where they identified and nurtured players such as Norman Maroto, Samson Choruwa, Nyasha Chazika, Cephas Chimedza and Naison Muchekela, whose team went on to dominate the local league.
Zuze also had coaching stints with Douglas Warriors, Sporting Lions, Monomotapa and Triangle before returning to Dynamos to coach the senior team.
It was at Triangle where he scored his biggest achievement as a head coach when he won the NetOne Cup in 2014 after beating Dynamos in the final.
Two years earlier, he had also achieved some success with Monomotapa, where he was an assistant to Mangwiro, guiding the team to a Mbada Diamonds Cup final, and eventually lost to Dynamos.
At Monomotapa, he is also credited with unearthing the likes of Ronald Chitiyo, Nelson Meson, Ismael Wadi and Godknows Murwira.
Zuze is survived by wife Memory and two sons, Brian (27) and Biggie Taurai Junior (24).