BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
DYNAMOS football legend Ernest Kamba has accused the country of failing to make use of football minds like George “Mastermind” Shaya.
Kamba, who was speaking at the burial of the football legend at Harare’s Warren Hills cemetery yesterday, said Zimbabwe had squandered a huge opportunity by failing to tap from the wealth of football knowledge that Shaya has taken to the grave.
Shaya (74) died last Tuesday in Harare after a long fight against diabetes and dementia.
The record five-time Soccer Star of the Year had his right leg amputated last year.
The Mastermind is regarded as one of the finest footballer ever produced in the country.
Football legends turned up in their numbers to give Shaya a befitting send-off.
Kamba, who played with Shaya for almost a decade since he joined the club in 1966, was of the view that the death of his former colleague was only a gain to the cemetery.
“It’s a pity that we come here to bury a football mind which was fresh, which was never used.
“It’s the ground where we have put him, the cemetery, which has gained and not the country because we have buried the best brains in football here. It’s a waste,” lamented Kamba.
Another football legend July Sharara, who was part of the gathering added to the legend of George Shaya claiming that the icon was never booked in his career. He also paid tribute to the people, who assisted the departed in his time of need.
“George Shaya was an exceptional footballer and throughout his career he was never booked in a football match. He was a target of crude tackles, but he would get on his feet and let his football do the talking,” Sharara said.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who assisted Shaya during his time of need, people like Anthony Mandiwanza, he took care of George from the time he was amputated,” he said.
“He went out of his way to buy him a car to use when he goes to seek medication and I know there are many others like him who assisted.
“We have a tendency of celebrating heroes when they are dead.”
Chita Antonio, the 1973 golden boot winner, whose goals helped Metal Box to the league title, had nothing, but praise for his former rival.
“We have lost the country’s football hero. Imagine he won the Soccer Star accolade five times, which means he was a special player. I remember at Zimbabwe Saints we played Shaya’s Dynamos in the Castle Cup and we lost 8-1. The Mastermind proved that he was a football genius. He has left a huge legacy in our football,” Antonio said.
Former football stars such as Sunday Chidzambga, David George, Stewart Murisa, Desmond Maringwa and Eddie Mashiri, to mention, but a few attended Shaya’s burial.
Dynamos had applied for Shaya to be declared a national hero but all that materialised was a state assisted funeral.