Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
FOOTBALL legend George “Mastermind” Shaya usually spots a lone figure in a world shattered by sickness and old age.
But on Wednesday he got surprise company when former Soccer Star of the Year Stewart “Shutto” Murisa dedicated his own birthday celebrations to the icon.
Murisa, who had a fine career both at home and in South Africa, turned 46 this week.
And the former Zimbabwe international had a way to show his admiration to the man who inspired him in his career when he decided to take his family and friends to Shaya’s Glen Norah residence in Harare.
Also joining him on his special day were former Dynamos players Stanley “Samora” Chirambadare, Henry “Beefy” Chari and David “Broomboy” George.
Murisa took Shaya down memory lane when he presented a cake designed with a Dynamos logo and inscribed “Mastermind” in blue-and-white colours.
“Shaya is a Dynamos legend, I am also a former Dynamos player and that is why I designed the cake using the club’s logo. The cake was made especially in his honour.
“This is a day I will cherish for a long time. Old people like Mudhara Shaya need people around them.
“They usually feel lonely at that age and I saw it fit to remember him in a special way.
“Shaya deserves a special place in the history of Zimbabwe. I was really humbled even to hear that George does not like cakes, but on the day he ate a huge chunk much to the surprise of his family,” said Murisa.
Shaya is one of the most celebrated footballers in Zimbabwe, who played for the national team and local giants Dynamos.
He holds the distinction of being the only player to have won five Soccer Star of the Year accolades in Zimbabwe.
Shaya, however, was diagnosed with dementia in 2014 and the condition affects his memory.
“I knew about George Shaya from a young age, although I didn’t get the chance to see him play.
“But history is clear about his achievements.
“It’s not easy winning the Soccer Star of the Year award five times. You cannot talk about Zimbabwean football without mentioning the name Shaya.
“We have to recognise such people. They remain our football elders up to this day. They paved the way for all the players that later made it from this country.
“Some of us were inspired by this man’s accomplishments. So I thought I should also honour him in my own humble way.
“I was also humbled by the reception we got from Mai Shaya. It was so touching. Even Shaya himself is a humble old man and I think we should all learn from him,” said Murisa.
Murisa is one of the few players that have played for the country’s Big Three – Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United.