The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
ONE of the best ever footballers to come out of Zimbabwe, George “Mastermind” Shaya has died at the age of 77.
Shaya, a winner of the Soccer Star of the Year accolade a record five times when he played for Dynamos died in the early hours of today (Tuesday) at his home in Glen Norah B, Harare. The former Dynamos player had been unwell for a number of years and in 2019 had his right leg amputated at Parirenyatwa Hospital because of a serious infection.
He is survived by his wife, son Stanley who is based in South Africa and one grandchild.
Former Dynamos player and ex-coach, Lloyd Mutasa confirmed Shaya’s death. Mutasa narrated that he saw a missed call from Shaya’s wife, Agnes since he went to the same church with the family and when he returned the call, she delivered the sad news that the football legend had passed on.
“I just saw a missed call from the wife, we used to go to same church Anglican, so when I called her, she started crying saying mdara has died. He has rested but its something that is hard to take,’’ Mutasa said.
David George, who also played together with the late Shaya said he had last seen him alive on Saturday and while he was not feeling well, there were no indications that he could die a few days later.
“I last saw him on Saturday, he looked fine, there were no signs that he could die a few days later. We have lost a football legend. His family is still making arrangements for burial but it should take some days for that to be finalised,’’ George said.
Debate has been raging for decades on who is the best footballer ever to come out of Zimbabwe between the now late Shaya and Peter Ndlovu. The two never played during the same era, which has made it difficult to make a comparison between them.
Shaya achieved most of his success before Zimbabwe gained Independence in 1980 when he won the Soccer Star of the Year in 1969, 1972, 1975, 1976 and 1977 when he was playing for Dynamos. He also played for the Rhodesian national team.
Ndlovu became the first black African footballer to play in the English Premier League when he signed for Coventry City in 19991. He went on to become the first Zimbabwean captain to lead the Warriors to their first ever qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations when they booked their place at 2004 Afcon in Tunisia. Ndlovu scored 37 goals in 81 appearances for the Warriors.