The Highlanders Football Club has seen a lot of great and unbelievable sons gracing BF over the years. In each generation, you can’t single out one players. They always were an incredulous unit of workmanship and entertainers.
Bosso had great coaches who moulded them into a live-wire football team that kept the City of Kings electrified week-in and week out. This would be the scenario whether the team was home or away. 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 Alex Maseko, Douglous British Mloyi, Abraham Madondo, Nhamo Shambira, Titus Majola, Thuthani Moyo and Benjamin Matambanadzo Mpofu to name but a few. It is so sad no one even gives him the role at national level. I will not do politics.
Cosmos Zulu was a hard man of football. I remember him saying ” Abanye benu labuya lapha lilama andaweya one one manje sesiliholisa imali selithenga nga six six selisimbuluzela”. Tsano as he is popularly known, believed in shaping the team’s physical frame and demanding the best. He was very much result oriented. Unfortunately, I did not work with him much and he normally did managerial duties. He worked with Captain Oxo – Peter Nkomo, Mackey Nyathi, Nqobizitha Humptey Maenzanise, Fanuel Malume Ncube, Madinda Ndlovu, the list is endless.
Roy Barretto was very versatile and shrewd. Roy believed in the same school as Barry Daka. He spent his energies on statistics and data to manipulate his opponents and to psych his players alike. He got the most out of players. Even better, he had an incerdible crop of Adam and Peter Ndlovu, Cleopas Nkatha Dlodlo, Benjie Nkonjera, Thabani B-Car Moyo, Boy Ndlovu, Rahman Gumbo and so many others. Barretto Mkula as we knew him, got this crop to play the most exciting football that brought results. It is always tough to balance this blend. People will never forget how they ripped Goh Mahia of Kenya at Barbourfields Stadium.
Madinda Ndlovu is probably the most under-rated Bosso coach. Shakes, we sometimes call him, has an unbelievable eye for talent. He is 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 small boys belive 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.
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 would be challenged by the status and class of these geniuses. Who could not have, being under the guidance of the ‘galloping’ Nduna? 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 growth in the team.
Rahman Gumpo was the most successful coach for Bosso. When Madinda Ndlovu was relieved of his duties, the 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’s a death knell for the fragile minds of young footballers. Rush took their broken hearts to his advantage. He gave them direct challenges, like, ‘people say you are young and not good enough, let’s go and show them’. That worked wonders. It was the days that Siza Khoza was hottest, Zenzo Zemura Moyo, Alexzander Phiri, Blessing Gumiso, Thulani Biya Ncube, Johannes Tshisa Ngodzo, Tapuwa Kapini, Melody Wafawanaka and Eddie Dube. The boys ran like there was no tomorrow. The Stadium was full and the mood was on such a high. 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 part. The dent here was the Sable de Batie and Young African Africa Champions’ League games. It was too bad.
Eddie May is regarded by many as the main man. I see him as a vulture. He took Rahman Gumpo’s team with its momentum. He was very fortunate to have Enerst Maphepha by his side. Eddie was a negative defensive coach when he came. One of his first few games, he played at home against Dynamos. I remember doing a radio commentery analysis on the game. He played with 5 defenders who battled to contain Norman Maroto. Bosso lots that game with Maroto scoring. Maphepha could not let the momentum die. Eddie Nyika came in to beef up the squad. Later, Adam Ndlovu and Stuart Murisa rejoined the young boys who pushed their game a notch higher. Bosso became rolling stone, winning Championships at will. Technically speaking, Eddie was good enough to keep the status quo Rahman had left.
When it comes down the line, there were others like Johns Chilengi. He was an ordinary passionate coach. He really did not impact much in the success of the team. As for myself, 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 Gumpo.
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.