EMOTIONAL SEND OFF FOR MATONGORERE REST IN PEACE . . . Pallbearers carry the casket of the late CAPS United assistant coach Nelson Matongorere to his grave at Zororo Memorial Park yesterday. He died at a private clinic in the capital last Wednesday night after suffering a stroke.

Takudzwa Chitsiga-Sports Reporter

MOURNERS yesterday said the void left by the death of Nelson Matongorere will be difficult to fill, as they struggled to control emotions during the burial of the former ZIFA Technical Director and coach educator at Zororo Memorial Park in Harare yesterday. 

Matongorere (68) passed away last Wednesday at a private clinic in the capital after suffering a stroke. 

Hordes of people and football enthusiasts yesterday came to pay their last respects as the funeral procession passed through Gwanzura and National Sports Stadium, which he frequented during his lifetime of service as a football coach and coaching instructor. 

Former colleagues and friends said football would never be the same without one of the country’s top instructors who nurtured several coaches who went on to make it big in local and regional football. Matongorere has been in the football trenches for over 40 years. 

Premier Soccer League chief executive officer Kennedy Ndebele said they have lost a mentor, a teacher, and a top instructor that the country will find hard to replace. 

One of Matongorere’s prodigies and later successor as ZIFA technical director, Wilson Mutekede was also at Zororo to bid his mentor farewell. “This big-hearted man was everything in terms of laying the foundation of coach education in the country and the region. 

“He was a true mentor. His ability to adapt even to the new trends of coach education was amazing. “His love and guidance are why most of us are at the level we are. He had seen it all and was always objective in everything. 

“Be it in a course, he had his usual icebreakers which left everybody in stitches. 

“The Lord gave and the Lord took away,” Mutekede said. 

Dynamos chairman Bernard Marriot said football was the biggest loser as Matongorere has helped a lot of coaches who are practicing.

“I first met Matongorere around 1974 when we attended a coaching course at the University of Zimbabwe and our relationship grew. He was a good man, a gentle giant who you would never see sad. 

“We worked together at Mashonaland Rovers before he took his coaching to another level when he attended some courses in Germany and England. 

“He went on to establish himself as one of the top instructors in the country mentoring young coaches who went on to become household names. For all the times I worked with him, I never saw him sad or upset. That is how jovial he was,” said Marriot. 

Senior manager in the CAF General Secretary’s office Kennedy Makambira recalled his working experience with Matongorere. 

He revealed that Matongorere was one of the coach instructors who was highly regarded by CAF. “I spent quality time with him last December at the COSAFA Schools. 

“We were working on getting him back as a CAF coaching instructor and his papers were already with Raul, CAF Development Director.

“VaMatongorere was a stalwart in bhora remunyika medu nemuAfrica.” 

“He rose to the top of his trade and was a highly regarded CAF Coaching Instructor for many years. 

“Former CAF Development Director, Abdel Moneim aka “Captain Shatta” ranked Matongorere in the top six instructors in Africa,” Makambira said. ZIFA referees’ representative Wilfred Mukuna said the country has lost a football guru who offered the better part of his life working for the improvement of the sport. 

“This is a very sad loss for all the football-loving people of Zimbabwe and the world at large.

“I have worked well with Matongorere and he was a man of principle whom I have never seen arguing or quarrelling with anyone. We had a good working rapport with him as he would invite us to some lessons on the rules of the game. “For us referees and soccer-loving people of Zimbabwe, we are very saddened,” said Mukuna. Football administrator Desmond “Dizola” Ali said they have been left with a huge gap in terms of football development, which he was so supportive of. 

“He would not sideline anyone if you invite him in time to attend to whatever project you will be undertaking. We had known him for a long time and he was very cooperative and always stuck to his word. 

“We are hopeful we will have another mentor par-excellency like him in the future,” said Ali. Staunch CAPS United supporter Raymond “Mawaya” Kapondoro said he was pained by the death of Matongorere, who he regarded as a father figure. 

“We came from the same rural areas in Murewa and our relationship had grown to surpass mere friendship. I am pained by his passing on.” Several football-loving people and former players and coaches like Lloyd Chitembwe, Taurai Mangwiro, Genesis Mangombe, Norman Mapeza, Robert Tembo, Alois Bunjira, Tonderai Ndiraya, Ronald Pfumbidzai, Lloyd Mutasa, Charlie Jones, Tendayi Samanja, CAPS United players among several others

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