By Trevor Makonyonga
Football greats have remembered Joe “Kode” Mugabe the late great former Caps United legend who passed away.
Mugabe succumbed to cancer last Sunday.
Bustop TV spoke to former footballers on their experiences with the legend.
David Sengu said, “He was my senior though we played against each other when he was at Aces. Then 2002 he tried to sign me Sporting Lions and it was my wish to play for him but the paper work was not sorted out. We were close with Joe Mugabe, we stayed next door to each other in Highfields. He is a well respected brother, footballer and mentor. Even (as he was) in UK we were always in touch during summer time we could meet playing social football and talk about Zimbabwean football especially development football he was so passionate. I am in pain. We were very close. We looked up to him who was like a father, brother n mentor. Brothers like these are hard to come by.”
Former Caps United teammate, Alois Bunjira, said that Kode was a great unifier and leader.
Bunjira said, “Sad to lose him. He was a great leader. A great unifier and a great friend. Great player himself. He was one of the veterans we found at CAPS United and he welcomed well. We clicked from the onset and became good friends. He was older yes but we used to hang out together a lot. A great personality. Even after moving to UK ,we continued being friends. At one time he even sourced equipment for my academy. We shall forever miss him. (We called him) Joe Kode, Number 7,Kademo.”
Former Kaizer Chiefs and Sporting Lions Defender said that he owes his life opportunities to Mugabe.
Sweswe said, “He was a great man, father, brother, friend he truly believed in me I remember in 2002 when I had quit football he had to send people to come n fetch me at my house so that I can play football after I had worked with him as our coach at Caps United under 19. Worked with him at Sporting Lions and he really took great care of me after the season in 2002 halfway mid season he did make sure that I stayed at Sporting Lions after the club had signed almost the entire team and I stayed behind n played all the games under him as co coaches with Lloyd Mutasa and we managed to survive the relegation.”
Former Zimbabwe Saints and Highlanders winger, Tapela Ngwenya, recalled how he had a torrid time marking Kode in the one game he ever faced the great.
Ngwenya said, “I just played against him once when I was at Saints 98/99 season a Bf we lost that game 3-1 if my memory saves me right. Well I was introduced as a second half substitute I guess to neutralize that flank where Joe was operating instead it got worse (laugh) so I was substituted for Chris Kawema. When they lost possession he would not mark instead he would stand at the flank when we attack them. When we lost Possession they would pass Bla Joe who did what he did best. Mzoe (Muzondiwa Mugadza) would lash at him.”
Mugabe will be remembered for his tough battles with former Dynamos’ captain Memory Mucherahohwa. All that Zimbabwe Football fans can only say is, “Rest well legend.”