By Lawrence Trusida
THE year 2021 has been a dark year in Zimbabwean football history after the country lost eight legends in a calendar year.
Top eight is usually associated with a competition of the best eight teams.
Sadly for Zimbabwe, 2021 is a year that will forever be remembered for taking eight of the best football players, brains and administrators.
George Shaya, arguably the finest ever footballer produced in Zimbabwe, was promoted to glory in August.
The five time Soccer Star of the Year brought business to a standstill in the capital when Zimbabweans wanted a glimpse of the hearse that carried one of its finest sons.
When Shaya departed from the playing field, a new hero was born in David Mandigora, sadly as fate would have it, they both passed on in the same year.
Better known as Yogie, Mandigora was the first soccer star in independent Zimbabwe and would lead the Warriors and Dynamos with distinction to many trophies and titles.
Dynamos were the biggest losers as they also lost Misheck ‘Scania’ Chidzambwa, another teammate of David Mandigora.
As a player, Chidzambwa captained the Warriors to their first trophy the CECAFA Cup under the guidance of Mick Poole who also sadly passed on this year.
As a coach, Chidzambwa led the Warriors to their first COSAFA Cup glory in 2000 and is widely regarded as a man who opened doors for others.
Misheck Chidzambwa and his coach Mick Poole followed each other and it was the same for Caps United as the coach and captain who gave them their first titles in independent Zimbabwe also departed this year.
Joe Mugabe, a diminutive magician on the field of play, breathed the last in Reading United Kingdom and his remains were repatriated home.
Popularly known as Kode from Mabvuku, Joe captained Caps United to league and Cup triumph in 1996 earning them the nickname the Cup Kings.
The team was coached by Steve ‘The Dude’ Kwashi a fine gentleman as described by football players and fellow coaches.
He oversaw an era of dominance for Caps United.
While Highlanders didn’t record loses on the field of play, their offices became poorer after losing two of their finest chairpersons in Ernest Maphepha Sibanda and most recently Ndumiso Gumede.
During their tenures, the Bosso roadshow was very evident and swept past their opponents.
If the gods are setting up a football team then the structure is very strong after their recent acquisitions in 2021.
Football is poorer but the heavens have gained.