BY FORTUNE MBELE
CAPS United legend Mpumelelo Dzowa has paid tribute to the late former club captain Joe “Kode” Mugabe , whom he described as a great leader.
Mugabe passed away in England on Sunday and the family is in the process of repatriating his body for burial in Zimbabwe.
Dzowa was in the Caps senior team in the early 1990s when Mugabe was appointed captain of the side as veterans such as Joel Shambo, Anthony Kambani, Albert Mabika were being phased out.
They both played alongside greats such as Alois Bunjira and Stewart Murisa and won Caps’ first league title.
In an interview from his base in the United States, Dzowa said Mugabe had amazing talent.
“Joe (Mugabe) was my teammate, a great footballer, very brilliant, amazing instinct and skill. He was a brother, family man who leaves behind three kids and a wife. He was a dedicated family man and people’s man, soft-hearted and easy-to-approach, down-to-earth and above all, a gentleman. It’s not easy to find all those attributes in one man that he was. He had a great heart, a lion heart,’ Dzowa said.
Dzowa says he vividly remembers Mugabe in the Caps class of 1996, when the Green Machine clinched the Premier Soccer League title, particularly in the deciding match when they beat Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium.
“I remember in 1996, then a deciding game for the championship. I took the goal-kick which landed on Joseph Takaringofa’s chest. He tried to control the ball, but he was fouled right outside Dynamos’ 18-area at the end of the field. Joe picked up the ball and chased away everybody. I think it was (Morgan) Nkathazo, Takaringofa and Cheche Billiat and interestingly they listened. He waited for me to jog across the pitch all the way to the other half, right at the arc. I got there and he passed the ball to me. All he did was a body swerve using his knees, the rest is history,” Dzowa said.
“I will take this opportunity to thank his wife, brother Innocent and the rest of the family for supporting Joe during his illustrious career and the final painful day. I know he is in a better place. I had the privilege of getting to know his challenges. I have been in contact with family and really appreciate them for updating me on his struggles up until his final day,” Dzowa said.
Dzowa went on to be Caps United’s welfare manager after retiring from playing.
Before moving to Makepekepe, he had played for Highlanders and Darryn Tornadoes.
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