BY Michael Madyira
The football world has many sets of identical twins that have illuminated various stadia.
Usually these brothers move together in their club careers, while only a few turn out for different clubs.
Names like Dutch twins Frank and Ronald de Boer, Hossam and Ibrahim Hassam of Egypt, the German pair of Lars and Sven Bender, the Turkish duo of Halil and Hamit Altintop as well as Manchester United’s Fabio and Rafael da Silva quickly come to mind.
Zimbabwe has also been blessed with such footballing twins in Abel and the late Cain Muteji as well Peter and Patrick Mubaiwa.
But the pair of Wilfred and William Mugeyi is the most notable to don the green and gold Warriors jersey.
So identical were the Mugeyi brothers that they confused referees during their playing days and would sometimes be crucified for each other’s sins.
In one incident in 1996 while turning out for Bush Bucks against AmaZulu in the South African top-flight league, Wilfred was red-carded after the referee misidentified him for William who had been cautioned earlier in the first half.
“We tried to protest that it was William who had been booked earlier on but the referee would not take any of it and I had to go out. Being identical does not have any advantages as people think, it is the other way round,” said Wilfred.
And interestingly, the referee’s error proved to be a blessing in disguise in the following match.
While the striker was serving his suspension, William who was a left-back scored the solitary goal that earned Bush Bucks a slender victory over QwaQwa Stars to lift the Coca-Cola Cup.
Nicknamed “Silver Fox”, Wilfred who is the elder twin by “a few minutes” later on grew dreadlocks which helped distinguish him from his brother but denied this was inspired by the red card incident.
Arriving at Bush Bucks in 1993 together with William after a stellar season the previous year in which he was crowned Soccer Star of the Year in Black Aces colours, life was not rosy as expected.
“When we arrived in South Africa it was Apartheid time so the language barrier was our major problem. South Africans believed that English was only spoken by whites so if you asked anything in English they would just ignore you.
“We were then forced to quickly learn Zulu and Xhosa,” Wilfred said.
Having overcome those obstacles, Wilfred’s brilliant showing earned him a season-loan spell at Israeli giants Maccabi Haifa in 1995.
And for the first time in his career, he was to start a football life without William.
“It was very tough because we had never separated before. I dearly missed William and would phone him every day. I think he would cry after hearing my voice,” said Wilfred with a chuckle.
BY Michael Madyira