Peter Ndlovu's big pledge
EDZAI KASINAUYO ran his full 90 minutes, and if he had it his way he would have asked for extra-time because he had hundreds of football development ideas buzzing in his head.
The late former Warriors midfielder, former Zifa board member, and player agent was buried yesterday at Glen Forest Cemetery in Harare, with scores of soccer’s elite gathering to pay their last respects to Zimbabwe’s gallant football son.
Kasinauyo died on June 16 and leaves behind two sons aged 12 and 10.
He may have had a premonition about yesterday’s sad gathering, at least according to his grandmother Mrs Dhokwani, who said the former Blackpool star had in January requested a family get together for this month.
“Perhaps this is the gathering he talked about,” mourned Mbuya Dhokwani as Kasinauyo’s casket was lowered.
Kasinauyo also spoke about establishing an Edzai Kasinauyo Football Academy with assistance from the legendary Peter Ndlovu, and yesterday the greatest Warrior of all time told
The Sunday Mail Sport he would strive to make the dream come true.
“There is a lot that he wanted to do and he told me,” said Ndlovu. “There are more than 100 things he had in mind and we ought to support that dream but in consultation with Edzai’s family. It is important that his dreams are executed.”
Kasinauyo died at the age of 42, and he touched the lives of many, including Ndlovu who - despite achieving more on the field of play - relied a lot on his fellow Warrior.
“People say Peter, Peter is great but they don’t know that there are people like Edzai who played a big part in my life. “This is a big loss. You can never explain the feeling neither can you explain the impact Edzai had in our lives. The issue with Edzai was that he was that kind of a guy who would say I am here what do you want me to do for you guys.
“When he came into the Warriors back then, he added something that the team didn’t have, that calmness and composure.
“This is a big loss first to the Kasinauyo family where he came from, his close family members and to Zimbabwean football as whole,” lamented Ndlovu.
Benjani Mwaruwari – who also worked closely with the late Kasinauyo in South Africa – described the former Caps United and Arcadia United player as someone everyone liked.
“The number of football legends and soccer fans here present tells you something about Edzai Kasinauyo. Everyone liked him, he was cool and we would always meet for a soccer chat.
“He created job opportunities for young Zimbabwean players and in the process managed to feed hundreds of families. I feel he had more to offer had God not taken him,” said Mwaruwari.
Tinashe “Father” Nengomasha, who played alongside Kasinauyo at the 2006 Africa Cup of Nations finals, said it would be to fill Edzai’s big shoes.
“We have lost one of a kind, Edzai was there building lives for young people, and most of the young players coming into South Africa from Zimbabwe depended on him.
“I don’t think there is anybody really to fill the big shoes he left, he was involved in business, and it’s a sad loss to the whole nation.”
Joe “Pajero” Musenda, one of the founding fathers of the now defunct Blackpool and the man who bought Edzai an air ticket when he made his first foreign move to South Africa as a player in 1999, was also at the burial and recounted their first encounter.
“I bought Edzai from Arcadia at the recommendation of the late Joel Shambo who was Blackpool coach. Together with the likes of Collins Kabote and Masimba Dinyero, Kasinauyo made Blackpool the big team it became. “I also advised him against contesting in the Zifa elections when he came for advice. I told him about the politicking in football but he was determined. But when the match-fixing allegations surfaced I reminded him about my advice. Be that as it may, he was a young man with a vision,” said Musenda.
Simeone Jamanda, who was chief of protocol at Blackpool during Edzai’s time, urged footballers to emulate Kasinauyo.
“Edzai was a great man, an example to the upcoming players. He played junior football, graduated into the Premier League, graduated into the national team, graduated into football administration and above all into business. Other players should emulate him and know the need to invest their fortune wisely.”
Mustaf Billiat, whose son and Warriors star player Khama was managed by Kasinauyo, was at a loss for words.
“I am pained a lot ... Edzai did a lot for our family. He played a role in grooming Khama, advising him to invest. He would tell me about Khama’s problems and behaviour in South Africa, he always wanted us to sit down and discuss the future of Khama. This is a huge loss.” As gospel music group Vabvuwi sang “Jerusarema Musha Wangu” at the request of Kasinauyo’s close friend George Mbwando, football legends paid homage to the late Warrior. In attendance were the likes of Ian Gorowa, Edelbert Dinha, Harlington Shereni, Lloyd Chitembwe, Dumisani Mpofu, Francis Chandida, Fungai Kwashi, Carlos Max, Albert Mabika, Desmond Maringwa and Kennedy Nagoli; and current stars Edward Sadomba, Willard Katsande, Billiat, Blessing Moyo, Evans Rusike, Tafadzwa Rusike, Ronald Pfumbidzai and Ronald Chitiyo among others. Go well Edzai - good night Warrior, they all seemed to silently weep as they shuffled their feet.
GO WELL EDZAI . . . Warriors legends among them Peter Ndlovu, George Mbwando and Dumisani Mpofu carry the late Edzai Kasinauyo’s casket at Glen Forest Cemetry yesterday. — picture by Kudakwashe Hunda