Big send-off for football giant 

Source: Big send-off for football giant –Newsday Zimbabwe

Hundreds of people drawn from Premier Soccer League, lower division teams, former players, business people and adminstrators thronged Zororo Memorial Park to bid farewell to a giant of the game.

The football fraternity yesterday gave a huge and befitting send-off to coach Nelson Matongorere who was buried in Harare following his death last week.

Matongorere died at the age of 68 after a short illness.

Hundreds of people drawn from Premier Soccer League, lower division teams, former players, business people and adminstrators thronged Zororo Memorial Park to bid farewell to a giant of the game.

The former Zifa technical director, Matongorere was part of the Caps United technical team at the time of his passing.

The legendary coach who dedicated more than 40 years of his life to training footballers and coaches in the country, has been described as a national hero.

Simba Bhora coach Tonderai Ndiraya said the country has lost an iconic figure in Matongorere.

“I can’t find enough words to express the loss,” Ndiraya said. “He was a great man, he is not just a hero in the football fraternity, but a national hero. He touched so many lives in so many different ways. All the coaches that you can think of in Zimbabwe, be it Kalisto Pasuwa, former Mighty Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza, Norman Mapeza, Taurai Mangwiro, Takesure Chiragwi and Lloyd Chitembwe, they came through his hands. He would not wait for you, but approach you to do the coaching badges.

“He was also instrumental in the development of grassroots football in Zimbabwe during his time as a Zifa technical director. He was so passionate about junior football. It’s a huge loss to all of us.”

Matongorere was a Caf certified instructor and Zifa Northern Region head of the technical and development committee.

Among the PSL coaches who came through his hands are Caps United gaffer Lloyd Chitembwe, FC Platinum’s Norman Mapeza, Saul Chaminuka and Taurayi Mangwiro from GreenFuel, Manica Diamonds’ Jairos Tapera and Ngezi Platinum Stars mentor Takesure Chiragwi. They were all at Zororo yesterday to pay their last respects.

Some of the former administrators including ex-women’s football boss Mavis Gumbo, Lazarus Mhurushomana and former Zifa CEO Henrietta Rushwaya were also present at Zororo to give their goodbyes.

“He is a permanent feature in the history of development of all the coaches that are currently plying their trade in Zimbabwe and some in the region,” Dynamos assistant coach Lloyd Chigowe said.

“He is a father to all the coaches. We had taken him for granted, little did we know that time is limited. Zimbabwe football might never get such kind of a character. He was down to earth, knowledgeable and a leader.

“He founded ZISCA but never went to town about it, he was instrumental in strengthening women football and mentored all the coaches. He never went to town about it.

“His humility saw him accepting being an assistant coach at Caps yet he is probably the highest qualified coach in Zimbabwe. A Caf and Fifa instructor and generally a respected coach.

“We have lost and don’t know where to turn to. He was a pillar.”

Mugadza, who is a member of Zifa normalisation committee, said the void left by Matongorere will be hard to fill.

“It’s a sad chapter for Zimbabwe to lose a man who had all the knowledge about our football. We have lost a coach, mentor, teacher, father and somebody who nurtured so many people in terms of coaching and playing football. Being one of his products from Level One to Caf B licence and now a Caf instructor, it was all because of him. He was humble and had so much love to give to each and everyone. I’m proud and happy that God gave me an opportunity to meet him and made me who I am today.”

Matongorere, who is credited for producing many of the country’s top coaches, began his coaching journey in 1981 when he acquired his Level 1 certificate and since then, rose to become a Fifa and Caf accredited instructor.

He also worked in the Warriors set up under Klaus dieter Pagels and also mentored the women’s  national team.

Former Caps United spokesperson Paddington Japajapa said Matongorere’s death was not only the loss to the family, but to the nation.

“The nation has lost one of the most qualified soccer coaches Zimbabwe has ever produced, a qualified Caf A Licence holder, Fifa coaching instructor, manager and coach. Zimbabwean soccer fraternity shall forever miss Matongorere the football guru and former Zifa technical director.”