Albert Marufu in LONDON, England
THE Zimbabwe Football Legends (UK) have paid their last respects to the family of the late former Highlanders player and coach Barry Daka.
Daka, who also coached the Zimbabwe Under-23 side, died two weeks ago and was buried at Bulawayo’s Lady Stanley Cemetery.
He was 71.
The UK legends and their Zimbabwean representative, Makwinji Soma-Phiri, last week handed over US$300 to the Daka family.
The money was handed by Soma-Phiri’s brother, Amini.
Charles “Star Black” Kaseke described the late Daka as a giant in Zimbabwean football who moulded a lot of players into household names.
“It is sad that we have lost such a great character. We have so much respect for Mr Daka.
“He was a father-figure to a lot of former players who passed through his hands. We have handed over our condolence money to his family through our representative in Zimbabwe.
“Makwinji, who is our representative, also played under Daka. We did the same again to former Tongogara striker, Alid Phiri, following his death early this month,” said the former Black Aces centre-back.
Kaseke added the group’s main goal was to look after the welfare of former players during their lifetime.
“We formed this group to support our colleagues back home in Zimbabwe who would have fallen on bad times or are unwell.
“We are looking for partners, as we are currently forking out money from our pockets.
“We also urge the football fraternity back home not to ignore former players. It is unfortunate that most of them are living under poor conditions,” he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Dynamos legend, Memory Mucherahowa, who said the former players have decided to come up with this group after realising that they were on their own.
“No one cares about us upon retirement. We have no one to help us, so we have to help each other.
“Our goal, as a group, is to support each other when we are still alive. We have done this in the past with David Mandigora, the late Friday Phiri, Henry Chari, Hamid Dana (late) and, more recently, Daka.
“Our main goal, as a group, is to assist former players who would have fallen on hard times.
“It is unfortunate that we are sending the money as a condolence token. It would have been nice to support him (Daka) in his lifetime,” Mucherahowa said.
Daka is survived by a wife, four children and 10 grandchildren.
The former Zimbabwe Under-23 coach started his football career at Highlanders in 1965.
He played alongside Majuta Mpofu, Billy Sibanda, the Nxumalo brothers James and Josiah, Ananias Dube, Edward Dzowa, Andrew Jele, Kenny Ngulube, Tommy Masuku and Lawrence “Lofty” Phiri.
He left Highlanders to join Wankie and was part of the team that shocked Dynamos to lift the Castle Cup in 1973 in the final.
He returned to Highlanders, albeit briefly, before aligning with a breakaway group of players who went on to form Olympics.
At Olympics, he became the first ever player-coach after undergoing training.
He helped Olympics to lift the Rothmans Shield in 1982 when they shocked the then country’s “Cup Kings” CAPS United 1-0 in the final at Rufaro.
Daka scored the priceless goal.
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