DEAR Sugar Sugar Boys,
I find it strange that although it is with a somewhat heavy heart, laden with gloom and despair, as I write this letter to all of you, there is a certain tinge of delight at how you acquitted yourselves as Zimbabwe’s ambassadors in the CAF Confederation Cup.
I also know that the whole football family, in and around the Lowveld and, in fact, the whole country, were saddened by your exit at the hands of Mauritania’s FC Nouadhibbou after you eventually lost 3-4 on aggregate.
I think that 2-0 loss in the away leg, after that disastrous three-minute blitz following a lapse in concentration by the defence, put a heavy burden on the shoulders of some of you who were not experienced enough to come out of such a scenario.
But, hey, how well you took the bull by the horns and fought bravely to post a 3-2 victory in front of your Zimbabwean fans at home last Sunday.
Sadly, it was not enough to overcome the visitors.
However, sad and frustrated some of you might still be, just remember the joy that you gave to some of us in this journey, starting with that roller-coaster ride in the preliminary round against Uganda’s Rukinzo in Bulawayo on 11 August.
And how sweet that victory was — just like the sugar cane you harvest at Triangle — when you blasted five goals past the hapless Rukinzo ‘keeper without reply.
Of course, the second leg, away, was just academic as the match ended goalless.
And then when you were drawn against Tanzanian outfit Azam in the first round, the prophets of doom had already inscribed your tomb’s epitaph.
But, again, you sent all of us wild with delight with those identical 1-0 wins in both legs, with skipper Ralph Kawondera and gangling midfielder Trevor “Yaya” Mavunga scoring the goals.
For a change, it wasn’t Dynamos, CAPS United, FC Platinum or Highlanders hoisting the country’s flag on the continental football front.
This proved, indeed, the great Pele’s immortal mantra when he said that football was, indeed, “the world’s most beautiful game”
Because when you have the same actors being cast in repeat roles, the plot does get somewhat thin and monotonous.
Although I will not pick out any outstanding characters in your “technicolour spectacle” I think head coach Taurai “Bla Jack” Mangiro and his technical team, and your club’s effervescent president Adelaide Chikunguru, deserve special mention for the unwavering roles they displayed as they persevered for history to be made from the Lowveld.
Chikunguru led from the boardroom with gusto while Mangwiro rolled out a true gaffer’s procession from the touchline.
And, of course, I would also like to pay tribute to the thousands of fans who journeyed from the Lowveld and afar as they joined hands in a truly national cause during the campaign.
As you prepare for the remainder of your season, I just want you to know that there is no dishonour in doing what you did on the continent.
You fought a good fight, for a team making their maiden appearance at this stage of the game, and you made all of us proud.
Once again, thank you Sugar Sugar Boys for that good adventure.
Yours in Football