The Sunday Mail
Petros Kausiyo and Langton Nyakwenda
AS domestic football prepares to lay to rest Dynamos assistant coach Biggie Zuze in his hometown, Bindura, tomorrow afternoon, the club’s legends have led the way as tributes pour in for the former midfield workhorse.
Zuze’s death in Harare last Thursday following pulmonary complications, left the country’s biggest sporting fraternity in shock.
For 37 years since he burst onto the Dynamos scene as a raw teenager that captured the imagination while starring for Bindura United in 1983, Zuze had been shuttling between Harare and Bindura for football or family business.
This morning, the man the domestic game affectionately called Nzou, will make his final journey to his hometown, which itself has been in a state of shock and disbelief since the passing on of an idol who had the biggest football profile in the Mashonaland Central provincial capital.
Zuze, who diligently served Dynamos and a number of clubs in varying capacities, is survived by his wife and two sons.
His burial tomorrow afternoon will close a football chapter that included successfully leading Francis Zimunya’s Mashonaland Central Provincial Under-18 side into the inaugural Coca-Cola Tournament in Mutare in 1982, before transforming himself into a household name at DeMbare, whom he joined the following year.
During his time at Dynamos, Zuze was part of a generation of fine players who included Clayton Munemo, Elvis Chiweshe, Francis Shonhayi, Peter Fanwell, Lucky Dube, Leon Ntawantawa, Kenneth Jere, Joshua Mhizha, Moses and Kembo Chunga, Taurai Mangwiro, Memory Mucherahowa, Charles Chirwa, Gift Mpariwa, David Mandigora and his brother Garikai.
Munemo and Zuze became close buddies, even teaming up in their post-playing careers as they ventured into coaching.
“Biggie was somebody who was humble and friendly. As a player, his work rate was second to none, a well-disciplined guy. And as a coach he was easy to work with. He could fit into any system whether as a junior or senior coach.
“Coach Biggie contributed a lot in terms of junior development in our football. He was instrumental in the set-up of Dynamos’ Kidznet (project) where he groomed stars like Desmond Maringwa, Murape Murape, Cephas Chimedza, Norman Maroto and Samson Choruwa, to mention a few.
“From there, we teamed up at Sporting Cubs, a developmental side of Sporting Lions. There he produced the likes of Felix “Mbesuma” Kuswatuka and Cabby Kamhapa. These are some of the players he later moved to Gunners with and they helped the team win the league championship. He also joined us at Monomotapa as our developmental coach for Nyanga Pine in Mutare.
“He then came to Harare to join the senior team with a number of good youngsters. They played good football and went on to reach the Castle Cup final. The team was nicknamed ‘Chinomakwa Nani’ because of the good passing football they displayed. At Monoz he teamed up well with Tau Mangwiro. Then he went on to take charge of Triangle and took with him a number of youngsters from Monoz, like Hillary Bakacheza and Meson Meson.
“While he was doing all this, he never looked back on development. He would also come and help our Academy B.N. during his spare time. There, he worked with some players who later played for the national team like Matthew Rusike, Tatenda Mukuruva and many others who went abroad. Our best moment at Dynamos was when the three of us — myself, him and Malcolm Fourie — teamed up to groom what I can say is the best ever junior team at Dynamos. So I say go well Nzou, I will greatly miss you friend. What a great coach,’’ Munemo said.
Mandigora, the 1980 Soccer Star of the year, described Zuze as a “gentleman of the game with a reputation for honesty, humility and hard work’’.
Legendary former DeMbare captain Mucherahowa said he learnt a lot on the ethos of discipline from Zuze.
“You were a brother, a teammate, workmate and a friend. You guided me during my first days at Dynamos, you taught me discipline, you taught me how to be a leader.
“You used to joke about it, but it was true, Ko zvaita sei nhai Ma2? Wandirwadzisa shamwari. Rest in peace,’’ Mucherahowa said.
Mangwiro said Zuze’s humility had showed in the way he would tackle any tasks he was assigned to.
He said despite his seniority and many years of experience, Zuze had never shied away from working with younger colleagues.
“Nzou was someone I knew from the days I joined Dynamos. When I left the club at the height of squabbles there, he was one of the few that I left with. I ended up as player assistant coach at Dynamos United.
“We would later team up when I was appointed head coach at Monomotapa and I called him to work with me. There were no issues of insubordination and that is an attribute that I would want to remember him for because he never had this attitude that because I am senior or more experienced, I just do my thing, he always consulted,’’ Mangwiro said.
DeMbare coach Tonderai Ndiraya echoed similar sentiments.
“I am shocked and saddened by the passing on of my most trusted lieutenant. Nzou was hard working and his commitment to his job was second to none. He was a moderator and unifier in the dressing room and above all, he was a fine gentleman with humility, who got along with everybody.
“He was senior to me by far and a head coach in his own right, but he accepted to work under me and treated me with a lot of respect. On behalf of the entire technical team and the players and indeed on my own behalf, I would like to express my deepest condolences to his wife, two boys and the Zuze family at large,’’ Ndiraya said.
Former Warriors, FC Platinum and Monomotapa coach Norman Mapeza also paid tribute to Zuze.
Mapeza said even as the football fraternity prepares to bury Zuze, he was still to come to terms with his death and revealed that he drew counsel and guidance from the late DeMbare gaffer.
“Nzou was just a true gentleman of the game on and off the pitch. He never had time to fight with anybody during his playing days and even as a coach. Dynamos has lost a legend.
“We used to talk and share ideas, especially after games. And he was someone who was open when analysing the game,’’ Mapeza said.
Dynamos’ Belgian partners also said they had learnt with sadness of Zuze’s death.
“Ligi Sport (Pvt) LTD, a business and technical consultancy partner of Dynamos Football Club based in Belgium, join the family of Dynamos and the entire Zimbabwe football fraternity in mourning the tragic and sudden passing on of Mr Biggie Zuze.
“Losing a family man, father, husband, mentor, key member of the club’s technical team and a football legend, makes the loss more painful.
“Biggie was a larger-than-life character who gave his all to Zimbabwean football from the days of his active football playing career up to the time he joined the club’s coaching ranks. Nzou, as the legion of fans called him, left a huge mark at the club as he was one coach whose humility would make him easy to work with anyone.
“Our two top coaches from Belgium who were in Zimbabwe last year on attachment at Dynamos enjoyed working with head coach Ndiraya, Zuze, Muzadzi and Muchekela.
“May the family of the late Zuze take solace from the fact that the late coach was a man of the people and that their loss and pain is ours as well,’’ said Gino Laureyssen, Ligi Sport managing director.
“The passing on of Nzou comes as a shock to the football fraternity. He was one of
the Zimbabwean legends who remained inspirational to the current generation of players.
“It was his humility and dedication to development that will remain the epoch in the minds of many fans. The current generation has a lot to learn from him and other living legends,’’ said ZIFA board member Sugar Chagonda.