Football administrators, coaches and players who worked closely with the late Dynamos assistant coach Biggie Zuze, who passed on this week, have described him as a humble and an unsung hero whose contribution to the development of local football is immense.
BY HENRY MHARA
Zuze died at a medical facility in Harare on Thursday after experiencing breathing difficulties.
He is survived by wife Memory and two sons Brian (27) and Biggie Taurai Junior (24).
The former Dynamos player and coach who was 55 at the time of his death, had no known previous medical condition, according to his family.
Burial arrangements had not been finalised yesterday as the family was still waiting for post-mortem results.
Condolence messages poured in from colleagues, friends and other football stakeholders expressing shock over his sudden death.
Dynamos head coach Tonderai Ndiraya, who was Zuze’s boss at the time of his death said his former assistant was a unifier. Ndiraya said the void left by Nzou, as his friends would call him, would be difficult to fill.
“I am shocked and saddened by the passing on of my most trusted lieutenant,” Ndiraya told NewsDay Weekender yesterday.
“Nzou (Zuze’s totem) was hard working and his commitment to duty 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 added: “It will be difficult to fill the void he has left. A man of his character is difficult to come by. He was a larger than life character with no controversy. He was strong and always gave the dressing room hope when things were not going on well. Never kept grudges and was always jovial. The Dynamos family will miss this unsung hero and legend of the club.”
Nicknamed “Bindura”, Zuze made his name playing for DeMbare giants in the early 80s, but also had an illustrious coaching career.
He started his coaching career with the Dynamos juniors and together with Clayton 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.
Zuze also had coaching stints with Douglas Warriors, Sporting Lions, Monompotapa 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 assistant to Taurai 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 and Godknows Murwira.
“It’s sad to lose a colleague. He was someone I knew from the days I joined Dynamos and we had a very good working relationship,” Mangwiro said.
“I worked with him in the technical department (at Monomotapa) and a very sound relationship we had. Senior as he was to me, I didn’t have any issues of insubordination and that’s an attribute that I would want to remember him for. And consult he would all the time, and that’s the kind of character, the humility that he possessed . . . a rare attribute which you don’t find in a number of us. I also want to remember him as someone who as a player won some championships, just like me, but as a coach he didn’t win a league title. But I believe that he is a winner in that he helped identify and nurture a lot of players who went on to do well and that on its own is good enough. He made immense contribution to the development of our football, so fare thee well Nzou. You ran your race very well. Rest in peace.”
Former Dynamos captain Maringwa said he credits much of his football success to Zuze.
“He is a true legend of the club,” Maringwa said. “His commitment to the team was immeasurable.
Whenever he was called to help the club, he would not turn it down even when the team was struggling financially. He was an honest and humble person. He was a frank talker. Whether you like him or not he was an open book.
“Personally, he nurtured me and so many other players in the junior teams instilling the Dynamos culture together with Munemo and improving us to go the next stage of our game,” added Maringwa.
Dynamos’ most successful captain Memory Mucherahowa, who formed a formidable partnership in midfield with Zuze in the 80s, said he was also pained by the loss of his former teammate.
Posting on Facebook yesterday, Mucherahowa wrote: “You were a brother, a teammate, workmate and a friend. You guided me during my first days at Dynamos. You taught me discipline and how to be a leader. You used to joke about it, but it was true. I’m hurt. Rest in peace Biggie Zuze my friend.”
The Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) also sent their condolence message to the Zuze family.
“We cannot begin to imagine the amount of pain the tragic loss of a father, brother, uncle, colleague, coach and friend has brought. Football has lost a loyal, dedicated and long-serving servant whose influence on many stakeholders of the game, is undisputed. Biggie’s big heart was just what our game needed, and with it he left his indelible stamp on the game. In memory of his passion for the game, we can only continue developing it so that his life-long passion thrives,” Zifa said in a statement yesterday.
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