BY FORTUNE MBELE

NGEZI Platinum assistant coach Cosmas “Tsano” Zulu yesterday lambasted Highlanders and Zifa for failing to honour soccer legend Daka while he was still alive.

Daka died last Thursday and was buried yesterday at Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo.

Zulu took the occasion to attack Zifa and Highlanders where Daka made his name and contributed immensely to the club’s success.

“Just before Barry (Daka) died, I had a meeting with him two weeks ago. That meeting lasted seven hours and we discussed a number of issues. Barry died a bitter man,” Zulu told the gathering.

“Do you know that last week when Highlanders played Chapungu at Luveve Stadium I was refused entry into the stadium and I left? Barry was also refused entry at Highlanders matches and if there are Highlanders leaders here; can’t you approach the PSL (Premier Soccer League) for these club legends to be given privilege cards. He is a man who was a national team coach and coached the Mighty Warriors on their way to qualifying for the Olympics finals, but they left him when they went to Brazil while giving a ticket to someone who makes tea at Zifa.”

Zulu, who also attacked the Sports and Recreation Commission and the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe (FUZ) for failing Daka, broke down during the service as he delivered his eulogy.

Representing the PSL, chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said Daka was a hero of Zimbabwean football.

“In the football industry this man is a hero. The man played football for the traditional teams, he played against tough opposition. He fought a big battle, groomed a number of players. He groomed some players who are now coaches in the Premier Soccer League and others who played across the contintent, the likes of (brothers) Madinda and Peter Ndlovu, Zenzo Moyo and Benjani Mwaruwari. The man was an adviser, mentor, leader, role model and developer. He leaves us with a lot of good memories,” Ndebele said.

Highlanders president Ndumiso Gumede said Daka had left an impression on a number of people.

“He was an outstanding player and coach for this great club that made his name. He was a mentor and role model and influenced a number of people. I had requested him to write about his achievements and where he left the club for our centenary celebrations, but alas! He is gone,” Gumede said.

FUZ president Desmond Maringwa was distraught.

“To me this is personal. It was painful for me because I could not say goodbye. A few weeks ago we held our awards and we played a five-minute video of him speaking about George Shaya and that was the goodbye,” Maringwa said.

Maringwa said he knew Daka from the days the legendary coach was assistant to then Under-23 Young Warriors coach Wieslaw Grabowski.

His former teammate Rahman Gumbo said Daka took him from Eagles to Bosso.

“He was a brother, my mentor, my coach. He stole me from Eagles and brought me to Highlanders. I requested him to be my adviser when I coached Highlanders,” Gumbo said.