By Muziwethu Hadebe
HIGHLANDERS and Zimbabwe Footbal LEGEND Barry Daka was laid to rest the football way at Lady Stanley Cemetery in Bulawayo on Wednesday.
The Master of Ceremony leading the burial proceedings was Ernest “Maphepha” Sibanda, himself a living football legend having played for Highlanders and Caps united.
“Maphepha” later went on to play a key role as the manager of Highlanders Football Club as well as the national team. He is also a former Highlanders chairman and is credited with leading the last Bosso league title in 2006 as the chairman. Barry Daka also coached “Maphepha” during his playing days.
Before burial the white Casket carrying the body of Daka arrived for the funeral service at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre led by Pastor Emmet Ndlovu.
Ndlovu is also a football person. He was a medic at Highlanders as well as with the National team. He worked with Daka at Highlanders and went on to be the General manager as well as secretary general at Highlanders.
His message was that the Lord knew us and our destiny well before we were born. He said before he was born the lord knew that Daka was going to be the coach of Highlanders, the coach of Rail Stars, the coach of the national team, the coach of Bulawayo City and that the lord knew how the people of Bulawayo and Zimbabwe were going to celebrate the life of this illustrious son of Zimbabwe.
As Daka’s body was placed in front of a packed Ampitheartre by Pall Bearers who included Rahman Gumbo a legend who was brought to Highlanders from Eagles by Daka, Douglas “ British Mloyi” who played as a centre back at Bosso under Daka. It also included those that he played with namely Billy Sibanda who was a right back, Lawrence Phiri who was a goalkeeper and Weekly Mwale who played with Daka at Wankie. But there was an element of his rivals during his days as Former Zimbabwe Saints and National team player as well as Coach Gibson Homela was part of the Pall Bearers. Homela and Daka coached various national teams together as well as producing a number of players and coaches.
The body did not only lie in front of the packed house who included Daka’s family as well as current and former players but it stood in front of an impressive collection line up of medals that Daka had won both as a player and a coach in his service to football.
When the life of Barry Daka was read out it included a list of all the medals that he had won in his football journey.
Daka loved music and his children and grandchildren sang one of the songs that they said he used to make them sing at home. The song with the words Luveve Township is good as it has beautiful girls received a huge cheer from the mourners.
Maphepha then opened the floor for the speakers starting with Highlanders who were represented by its President Ndumiso Gumede. Gumede described Barry as an outstanding player, outstanding coach as well as a mentor as he influenced many people’s lives. He said he remembers spending a month in Germany as Highlanders with Barry in 1987. What Gumede did not say is that it was as a result of that Germany trip that saw two of Daka’s players Madinda Ndlovu and Willard Khumalo exported to that country and Bosso is believed to have received a payment that also included two buses.
Other speakers included former ZIFA Vice president Vincent Pamire, Weekly Mwale who represented Hwange FC and said it was Daka’s arrival that saw the colliery side start to win trophies and setting up youth developmental centres within the colliery, Lawrence Phiri who said he met Barry at the age of 12 years and he was introduced to Bosso by the late Daka.
Rahman Gumbo was also one of the speakers and said he benefitted a lot from Barry Daka as he brought him from Eagles to Bosso and helped him find his way when he arrived in Botswana. It was an emotional speech as Rahman explained how he introduced the late Daka to the church and the late Daka went on to gave his life to the lord in Botswana.
Cosmas Tsano Zulu who coached for a long time with Daka took a swipe at Bosso, ZIFA, BCC, and FUZ for failing to honour the late legend while he was alive. He accused Bosso of failing to ensure that its legends have easy access to watch its team as most including Barry, always negotiated to find their way into the stadium.
Desmond Maringwa the president of the Football Union of Zimbabwe said he had learnt a lot from Daka and said he will miss his humbleness as well as the humility and smile that Daka had, saying a few with what he had achieved would have bothered to go down and coach the little ones.
Gibson Homela was also given time to address the mourners describing Barry as his boy who worked well with him despite them playing for different teams except at national level.
Premier Soccer League CEO Kennedy Ndebele described Daka as a football national hero given what he won as a player and coach as well as his influence to many players and coaches he produced.
In between the football speeches “Maphepha” allowed Remsy Kasawaya to perform some live music. It is not a Bosso gathering without popular Bosso songs and Kasawaya belted out a remix of Fanyana Dube, Lovemore Majaivana and Zex Manatsa that was responded to well by the mourners.
“Maphepha” then handed over the speeches to the Daka’s family and they were led by her last daughter Marcelene who disclosed that she was her dad’s favourite and that it was only two weeks that she had got her Medical Officer practicing certificate.
Marcelene broke into tears towards the end of her speech saying she was cross at her father.
“I did not know that I was going to be the first to certify my father dead, I have seen many dead people but this was difficult, my life is just starting and I don’t have any kids and am not married and would have wanted dad to witness this”, said Marcelene as her sisters assisted her off the stage.
The main speech was delivered by the mayor of Bulawayo Solomon Mguni who said by burying Daka at Lady Stanley and providing Amphitheatre the City was honouring one of its heroes.
After Ndlovu’s sermon it was time for body viewing with live background music before the long drive to Lady Stanley Cemetery where Daka was laid to rest.
MYSPORTS will give you more reactions to Daka’s death during the course of the coming week.Daka died last Thursday and was 71; He leaves behind his wife and four Children.