THOUSANDS of mourners flocked to the Zororo Cemetery yesterday along Seke Road in Chitungwiza to pay their last respects to Warriors and Caps United football legend Friday “Amayenge” Phiri.
BY TAWANDA TAFIRENYIKA
The entire football family, from the Chidzambwa brothers Sunday and Misheck, former Caps United stars, goalkeeper Stephen Chimusoro, Stanford ”Stix” Mtizwa, Carlos Marx, Dumisani Mpofu, Edwin Farayi, Norman Mapeza, to former Black Aces’ defensive linkman Rodwell Manongo and team mate John Mbidzo, among others were united in sending Phiri to his final resting place.
Amayenge died on Friday at the age of 60 after succumbing to liver cancer.
He is survived by his wife Rose and three children David, Debra and Manfred.
Speaker after speaker gave a moving eulogy.
Caps United president Farai Jere described Amayenge as one of the best players to emerge from Caps United, who could have easily played in Europe in his heyday.
“He was undoubtedly a football legend, a distinguished player, whose talents could have taken him to Europe. He contributed a lot to make the rivalry that exists now between Caps United and Dynamos. These players unite us as they distract us from our daily problems and when you see people leaving their jobs to come and watch them, they are very important in society,” he said.
“As Caps United family, including the club’s legends, we have been running around to ensure a decent burial for our legend. Caps United assisted with food and everything that was needed for this burial. There was a time when we wanted him to be part of the club’s administrative structures, but at the time, he said he wanted to pursue coaching.
“Our rivalry with Dynamos is only on the football pitch. Outside it, we are one family. We want to thank the Dynamos football family and all those who came here to give their last respects to our legend.”
Chimusoro, who played with Phiri and was also part of the championship winning squad of 1979, described his former friend’s death as a loss to football.
“This is a sad day for football. He was an idol in every sense, one of the best Caps United players. I played with him from 1977 when he joined from Mutare United. His legacy is immortal and he will never be forgotten. He is, without doubt, up there with the Gods of football,” he said.
Twine Phiri said he last spoke to Phiri on Tuesday when he went to see him in hospital.
The former Caps United president, who facilitated his burial with Nyaradzo Funeral Services, said football had been robbed and would never be the same again.
Phiri was famous for his scissors kicks and was also part of the squad that beat Dynamos 7-0 in one of the games that remains a major talking point to this day.
He also played for the Warriors as well as coached his former club Caps United and the Young Warriors.