Collin Matiza Sports Editor
FORMER Chapungu United midfielder and nomadic soccer coach Beaven Gwamure has died. According to Moses “Gwejegweje” Chasweka, who rubbed shoulders with Gwamure at Chapungu United in the 1990s, the Mbare-born player who later turned his hand to coaching, died in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Sunday after a short illness. He was 55.
“Beaven died on Christmas eve in Johannesburg after he suffered a stroke and had a brain hemorrhage, resulting in his subsequent death. And we are currently running around, trying to get his body repatriated from South Africa for his burial here in Harare,” Chasweka said.
Gwamure is survived by his wife Florence Banda, a daughter Tatenda and two granddaughters. Mourners are gathered at No. 58 Vito Street in Mbare, Harare. Born in Harare’s high-density suburb of Mbare in 1962, Gwamure started his “professional” soccer career at the now-defunct Cone Textiles, which was later renamed Darryn Textiles and then Darryn T, in the early 1980s.
He was to later move to Air Force of Zimbabwe side Air Force United in 1985 with his teammate at Darryn Textiles, Thomas Mudzengerere. A gritty defensive midfielder, Gwamure did not stay long at Air Force United as he was quickly “promoted” to join another Air Force of Zimbabwe side Chapungu United who were based at Thornhill Airbase in Gweru and were under the tutelage of the late Lovemore “Mukadota” Nyabeza.
At Chapungu United, who had just been promoted to play in the then Super League, Gwamure played alongside a number of fellow talented players such as Chasweka, Patrick Nechironga, Choddy Chirwa, Babton Nchenyela, Gift Chilunjika, Nkulumo “Daidzaivamwe” Donga, Gary Mkandawire, Kennedy Chihuri, Brighton Dzapasi, Godfrey Chuchu, Jonah “Chivhu” Murehwa, Bigboy Ndlovu, Wonder Phiri, Perkins “Yellow” Nyamutamba, Victor Murehwa and the Muteji twins Cain and Abel.
After playing for Chapungu United for more than a decade, Gwamure hung up his boots in the late 1990s and turned his hand to coaching and he initially took charge of another Air Force of Zimbabwe side Blue Swallows together with the late Garnet Muchongwe.
But Gwamure did not stay long at Blue Swallows as he packed his bags and found himself coaching a number of lower division and Premiership sides such as Douglas Warriors, Underhill and Njube Sundowns.
Revered local soccer commentator, Charles “CNN” Mabika, yesterday described Gwamure as one of the most underrated players who, unfortunately, never had regular time with the senior national team.
“Beaven Gwamure was a gritty midfielder in the same mould with Willard Katsande. He started his football career in the lower division before he joined Chapungu United after he was spotted by the late Lovemore Nyabeza.
“Off the pitch he was a reserved and a quiet person and never be the lion he would be on the pitch. I remember him finding the target for Chapungu United against Highlanders at Barbourfields where he beat goalkeeper Peter ‘Captain Oxo’ Nkomo from a rebound with perfection following a corner.
“His sudden death is very, very sad indeed and on behalf of the local football community and on my personal behalf, I am offering condolences to Beaven Gwamure’s family and relatives,” Mabika said. Gwamure’s elder brother, Todd, who was also a brilliant defender before he lost his arm in a freak accident at work in the mid-1980s, said they have lost a good man and a breadwinner in the family.
“The sorrow is great, and I share my grieving with other great footballers and fans who watched Beaven in action during his playing days with Chapungu United from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s.