Football mourns coaching guru Matongorere Nelson Matongorere

Zimpapers Sports Hub

ZIMBABWEAN football united in mourning the passing on of coaching legend Nelson Matongorere, with tributes pouring in from far and wide, especially from those he mentored.

The CAPS United assistant coach died at a private clinic in Kambuzuma, Harare, on Wednesday night.

Matongorere, who was 68, leaves a legacy of having groomed the majority of the coaches who are taking charge of Premiership, lower divisions, tertiary and schools teams.

The former ZIFA technical director also worked closely with the Northern Region Soccer League and was instrumental in turning around the fortunes of women’s football, when he worked with German expatriate and his close friend, Klaus Dieter Pagels.

CAPS United led the way, with the club paying tribute to the immense contribution he had made at the Green Machine.

“The CAPS United family, football fraternity, and the nation are gripped with sorrow following the passing on of coach, father, leader, elder, and mentor Nelson Matongorere.

“We have sadly lost a true legend of the game. For decades, Nelson Matongorere dedicated his life to shaping young athletes and inspiring countless teams.

“His legacy extends far beyond the pitch, as he taught us valuable life lessons about discipline, teamwork and perseverance.

“We will deeply miss his guidance, wisdom and passion for the beautiful game.

“AS CAPS United, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and all stakeholders whose lives he touched.

“Rest in peace Mudhara. Your impact will be felt for generations to come. As CAPS United, we have sadly lost a legend,’’ the club said.

ZIFA Normalisation Committee chairman Lincoln Mutasa, said; “The ZIFA Normalisation Committee acknowledged the contribution that Matongorere made to the growth of the national game.

“It is with profound sadness that the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) has learned of his passing away.

“Matongorere, who was also a CAF certified instructor and ZIFA Northern Region head of the technical and development committee, commanded immense respect within the football community.

“His vast experience spanning several decades at various levels within our football pyramid contributed significantly to the beautiful game,” said Mutasa.

“Larger than life yet humble, Nelson Matongorere was indeed a true gentle giant. He will be sorely missed by all of us at ZIFA and everyone who had the privilege of knowing and working with him.

“Our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends and the entire football fraternity during this difficult time’’ Mutasa said.

ZIFA First Instance Body chairman and ex-Warriors team manager, Sharif Mussa, expressed shock over Matongorere’s death and noted the “great work that he did in developing the game in this country’’.

“It is with great sadness and sorrow that I learnt this morning of the passing on of   Matongorere.

“His death is a huge blow not just to CAPS United, where he was currently working, but to the entire Zimbabwean football fraternity and the African game at large, as Nelson was a CAF instructor.

“My heartfelt condolences to his family who have lost a father and a pillar.

“May his family take solace from the fact that Nelson has left a legacy of having produced numerous coaches, who came through his hands, and are now tasked with the mantle of continuing to develop the game.

“I also had the privilege of working with Nelson during my different stints as Warriors manager and later national teams’ general manager, and found him to be a likeable character who was not only a teacher but also always willing to learn.

“May his dear soul rest in eternal peace,’’ said Mussa.

Former Warriors coaches Kalisto Pasuwa, who is now based in Malawi, and South African-based Ian Gorowa also expressed sorrow on the passing on of Matongorere, as did his former assistant at the Young Warriors, Philip Mbofana, who is now based in the United Kingdom.

The NRSL, where Matongorere was a regional technical director, described him as one of the best football brains the country had been endowed with.

“It is with heavy hearts that as the NRSL fraternity, we wish to convey our heartfelt and sincere condolences to the Matongorere family and the whole football fraternity at large on the sad passing of our dear brother, father and servant of football,’’ NRSL chairman Martin said Kweza.

“As much as we knew of his failing health, we kept on praying for his recovery, fully cognisant of his ever-wanted presence in the rebuilding of our football.

“His untimely death has robbed us of a vital asset, when we wanted all our best brains on deck to help with the reform of reform of our football.

“We remain hopeful that those whom he has left behind will do justice to all processes possible and reignite our game to greater heights and help his soul to rest in peace.

“The region in particular, where he was the regional technical director, will forever, be endeared to his services and fountain of knowledge. We hold on to the memories we shared from our various interactions, which we will forever cherish and draw strength and comfort to go on in this football journey.

“To his family and friends, we join you as we mourn our departed gentle giant and above all pray that the Lord our Mighty God will give you the strength and courage to accept this shattering loss,’’ Kweza said.

Black Rhinos coach Nesbert Saruchera was one of a multitude of Matongorere’s prodigies and expressed his sadness at the news of his mentor’s death.

“I am hurt after getting the news of my mentor, name any local coach, he groomed them all,’’ Saruchera said.

“He would assist everyone even those who couldn’t write, he was a great man . . . we lost a very big man in football. We are very disturbed as coaches; our mentor is gone.

“We are appealing to the family to bury him on a Monday so that everyone can be there.  He assisted us a lot. He was a good man.’’

FC Platinum’s Norman Mapeza also celebrated the legacy that Matongorere has left.

“We have lost one of the best local instructors, 98 percent of all the coaches passed through Matongorere’s hands.

“I am just short of words. He made a lot of impact not only in Zimbabwe but in Zambia, Malawi, and Botswana, he contributed a lot. We lost someone who contributed a lot.

“If there was a Hall of Fame, there was not going to be a debate, he would certainly be inducted there. He did a lot in terms of football development in this country.

“As coaches, we should continue with his legacy, I am still in shock,’’ Mapeza said.

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