|(Barry Daka - one of the best)|
This would always be the scenario whether the team was home or away, with very loud and black and white roadshows every weekend. All of these coaches were gifted differently.
Barry Daka, - this man breathed, ate and slept football. Bhibhiza had the style. He spent lots of times reading new football concepts. He kept himself up to date with modern coaching methods. The time of his vision had not yet arrived in his era such that his stay as head coach was characterised by exciting but less fruitful seasons.
He coached the teams with the likes of David Phiri, Alex Maseko, Douglas British Mloyi, Abraham Madondo, Nhamo Shambira, Titus Majola, Thuthani Moyo and Benjamin Matambanadzo Mpofu to name but a few. UBarry, as many know him, had played and coached Olympics, a team he founded after a rebellious fallout with Highlanders in the early 1980s.
I worked with Barry on a very successful project at Railstars, taking the team from the First Division to the Premier League in very dramatic fashion. As his assistant and goalkeeper coach, I went on to add a portfolio of team management and I leant a lot from the man.
He assisted Wieslow Graboskwi in the 1995 All Africa Games in Harare, winning a silver medal with the Under 23 team. He coached the Zimbabwe national team on numerous occasions.
Cosmos Zulu was a hard man of football. Tsano, as he is popularly known, believed in shaping the team’s physical frame and demanding the best. He was very much result-oriented. He did managerial duties for the team as well.
He worked with Captain Oxo – Peter Nkomo, Mackey Nyathi, Nqobizitha Humptey Maenzanise, Fanuel Malume Ncane Ncube, Madinda Ndlovu, the list is endless.
Tsano also trained goalkeepers, including myself, and went on to work with Amazulu of Bulawayo in a very successful stinct as a coach and manager over Usuthu's existance.
Roy Barretto was very versatile and shrewd, probably the best and most successful of the lot to date. URoy believed in the same school of thought as Barry Daka, that of modernising the game plans and training methods. He spent his energies on statistics and data to manipulate his opponents and to psyche his players. He got the most out of players.
Even better, he had an incredible crop of Adam and Peter Ndlovu, Cleopas Nkatha Dlodlo, Benjie Nkonjera, Thabani B-Car Moyo, Boy Ndlovu, Rahman Gumbo and so many others.
UMkula got this crop to play the most exciting football that brought results. It is always tough to balance this blend. His technical team included Brry Daka, Tsano and Doctor Vik Naik.
Barretto had been very succesful with Zimambwe Saints and worked very well as assistant to Reihard Fabisch during the Dream Team era.
Madinda Ndlovu is probably the most under-rated Bosso coach. Shakes had an unbelievable eye for talent. He was an inspirational coach who dug out for Thulani Ncube, Bekithemba Ndlovu, Siza Khoza, Gift Lunga Jnr, Amon Chimbalanga, Thabani Mqwayi Masawi, Noel Kaseke and so on. He sacrificed his reputation and job trying to bring youngsters to the fore.
Temperamental as he was, he gave the small boys the belief in themselves and they grew up to be a force. Many people still do not believe in his work, but he was great for the team.
Madinda played a prominent role for the team as a winger and scorer of many goals and he played football in Germany. He coached in Botswana as well as Black Mambas of Harare.
The late Willard Mashinkila Khumalo will always remind me of Madinda in some ways. They both had a way to work with players at training. They had incredibly exciting drills that got the boys working. I think the players felt intimidated by the status and class of these geniuses. Who could not have been?
While their personalities were worlds apart, they were both an unlucky pair. They did not get results when they needed them. As usual, fans were never patient enough to see the growth of their teams. Widzo played for many teams like Caps United and Lancashire Steel and coached Mwana Africa among other teams. He had several coaching jobs in Botswana too.
Rahman Gumbo was the most successful coach for Bosso. When Madinda Ndlovu was relieved of his duties, the young boys were down and out. They were young and feeling bad because of the press and fans. Not winning is one thing, but if the fans are not helping, it is a death knell to the fragile minds of young footballers.
Rush took their broken hearts to his advantage. He gave them direct challenges with the exceptional motivation he had probably leant overseas as a layer and working with both Barretto and Fabisch. That worked wonders for the young boys.
It was during the days that Siza Khoza was hottest, Zenzo Zemura Moyo was a prolific goal scorer, Alexander Phiri a midfield workhorse, Blessing Gumiso a dominating force, Thulani Biya Ncube the perfect specimen of a footballer, Johannes Tshisa Ngodzo shoe shine pianist, Tapuwa
Kapini flamboyant goalkeeper, Melody Wafawanaka the fortress and Eddie Dube the darling of the crowd.
The boys always ran like there was no tomorrow. The Stadium was always full to the bream and the mood was on such a drug high. Rush coach the team to be a source of the reason to live for so many fans.
People started composing songs and remixing in a way never known before.You will remember the Gwindi song, the ‘Cry Mantengwane’ and ‘Babebulalo’ Baba’. This for me was the most successful and most successful part.
The dent here was the Sable de Batie and Young African Africa Champions’ League
games. That was too bad.
Eddie May is regarded by many as the main man, a true expatriate and professional. He took Rahman Gumbo’s team with its momentum. He was very fortunate to have Ernest Maphepha by his side. The late Eddie was a little negative when he started, being too defensive.
One of his first few matches, he played at home against Dynamos and I was doing a live
TV commentary analysis on the game. He played with five defenders who battled to contain Norman Maroto. Bosso lost that match with Maroto scoring.
Things improved very much from that time on. At one point, he played six strikers in a match. In the days of Eddie Nyika and later, Adam Ndlovu and Stuart Murisa, the team won the championship with a 20-point gap.
The young players like Honour Gombami and Johannes Ngodzo pushed their game a notch higher and flourished. Bosso became rolling stone, winning championships at will. Technically speaking, Eddie was good enough to keep the status quo Rahman had left. He was one of the best.
("Sathathu Eddie Dube, sathathu Eddie Nyika, Highlander, iteam yezwe lonke. Sathathu Eddie May, kuselu Edie Murphy, Highlander .....")
When it comes down the line, there were others like Dick Chama. He was an ordinary passionate coach. He really did not impact much in the success of the team, probably because of the challenge of living up to the predecessors. He remained a professional who worked hard for the team.
Methembe Ndlovu brought a different style of play and went for about half a season without a loss. Mayor won the league championship with about six matches remaining. His system revolved to be rigid and unexciting.
There was no patience with the management and fans for him to do different things to turn the fortunes of the team around.
In a long history of other coaches, there is Bobby Clark of the Bobby circuit that we covered on the blog previously, as well as Bill Asbury. Others like Lawrence Phiri played vital roles that
combined with being team managers as well.
In later years, Highlanders hired Mohammed Fathi of Egypt. Fathi was assisted by Mkhuphali Masuku, a former club midfielder who also played for Amazulu. Fathi coache at the worst ossible economic era for the country and team and had success to write home about.
Mr Cooper also tried his best with Bekithemba Ndlovu and made a reasonable impact under tough conditions.
Bongani Mafu coached Highlanders FC for just under a season,but was very unlucky to get the desired results. Mafu came in with a lot of exprience from Europe and some claim his coaching methods were too complicated for the boys and therefore did not benefit the team much.
His previous coaching experience with Zimbabwe Saints, had proved his capability as a very smart and clever coach. Bongani had coaching stincts in Botswana before and after leaving Highlanders and he also worked with Sunday Chidzambwa as a COSAFA team assistant in the 2017 South Africa COSAFA Cup.
As for me, many people do not have a clue who I am or was. I was never the coach. I was just a Technical Advisor, to Rahman Gumbo.
The question as to who was the greatest, will always hinge on where you were at that time. Some were the best, others lucky and few successful. Of course for me, least known.