The biggest secret of African football is its lack of sponsorship. I had the privilege to know and work with Bongani Mafu. The man is doing a good job in sponsoring football development program, The Bongani Mafu Youth Tournament. This takes place annually in August/September. The tournament gives young players the opportunity to showcase their talents to the world. We hope one day, the best players will be rewarded by going overseas for experience.
Tournaments like these have always motivated up coming players and coaches alike. They always have something to look forward to. It was normal that other tournament sponsorships would book the winners tickets to overseas. Readers with means and ways are encouraged to make those things happen again.
Bongani Mafu is a high-class coach with incredible credentials. Among the many things he did as a Zimbabwe Saints coach, was to give Highlanders FC Bosso a championship in the last game of one season. Highlanders were in no position to help themselves.
Dynamos were a team on song and had Saints as the last hurdle to glory. Dembare steamrolled into town when Bosso was out, to crush Saints to the crown. Mafu plotted one of the biggest upsets of the game. He beat Dynamos by 3-0.
Bongani has wits and passion for the game that can only be imagined by many. People that humble come and go on unrecognised. They lead normal lives helping the communities they live and lived in. They are the silent heroes.
Bongani, I will always cherish those moments travelling to change how football was done at the capital. I fondly remember the drive we had and the numerous breakdown we had to deal with. At least there was the hot Kwaito music to keep us company. It was the days of “Lenkwenkwe yase Zola, ngizayenza ibeyiyona umMongameli we kwaito music, uMongameli ngisho uPresident”. Eish. And BOP had their song with strong language. Anyway, I miss have to engage Mick Pool, Bob Lines, Ephert Lungu, Leo Ntawatawa, Bheki Nyoni and the rest, in those meetings. It would get to pinning down Wellington Nyatanga and Leo Mugabe. Mafax baba!!!!