The Sunday News
FOR a club returning from lower division football after over three years, Douglas Mloyi believes their run which saw the reach a hat trick of cup finals was deserved in 1980.
Bosso had quit the elite league in 1976 not happy with how they were robbed of their first national title. With the charismatic Silas Ndlovu, they were able to form the South Zone Soccer League which fortunately found takers.
Mloyi and his generation of Highlanders players toiled in that league for two years 1977-78 before the rest of the top clubs agreed to play in regional leagues as the war intensified and economic bite took its toll on traveling teams.
Highlanders managed to finish among the top clubs that made the cut for the inaugural Super League in independent Zimbabwe. The new Zifa had to go a re-unification process identifying top finishers in either regional leagues to play in the elite division which attracted Dynamos, Highlanders, Caps Rovers, Wankie, Gweru United, Rio Tinto, Risco and Zimbabwe Saints among other top sides.
Mloyi said the fact that when they left the Rhodesia National Football League they were at the top made them want to prove a point.
“We had been robbed of the 1976 league title. We wanted to prove a point since there were still some who were part of that great team still active that we still had it.
“We played and fought for the honour of the club colours and emblem. As a club we had all the motivation coupled with the excitement of a new Zimbabwe, we wanted to continue with the vibe that had gripped the country. We were happy to see our brothers and sisters back home,” said Mloyi whose brother Tennyson had been part of the 1976 side.
Mloyi said there was a thin line between them and the other teams that had stayed in the elite division.
“We matched them in all respects,” said the 64-year-old Bosso legend who refused to sell out and join Olympics during the end of 1976 great split.
After losing almost the entire reserve team to the struggle among them Smart Moyo, George Moyo and Jabulani Mbambo, Bosso were to lose half the senior players to Olympics.
Highlanders won the first tournament in independent Zimbabwe the Chibuku Trophy. Mloyi was part of that gallant side that beat a strong Rio Tinto side 4-0 with a Mark Watson hat trick the highlight of the afternoon.
“We were just as good as any of the top sides. We had not lost none of our bite of old even though it was a changed team to the one that the top teams had met in 1976,” said British as fans called him during his heydays.
The former Zimbabwe centre back, whose trophy cabinet has all silverware competed after 1980 except the league title, was part of the Bosso side beaten 4-1 in the second leg of the Rothmans Shield for an 8-3 aggregate loss. The match was played on the 10 of August, two days before the Heroes Cup final in which they had qualified for after edging Wankie FC.
“That was a mesmerising side. That Caps United was something else. It was unstoppable with Stix Mtizwa and the late quartet of Stanley Ndunduma, Joel Shambo, Friday Phiri and Shacky Tauro. First leg we lost 4-2 and we had hopes that our first choice goalkeeper Peter Nkomo would make the difference after missing the first game due to commitments with the Moscow Olympics team,” said Mloyi.
In Nkomo’s absence the coaches played Marko Ncube (coincidentally the father of prominent sports journo Fungai Muderere) who let in four in the 4-2 loss.
Mloyi said after the Caps’ game as players they told themselves that they would atone for the loss with a better display against Dynamos.
The match set for Barbourfields Stadium on Heroes Day drew the kind of crowd the event and two teams deserved. It was the first major cup final in Bulawayo, a city denied the 1976 Chibuku Trophy final when giants Highlanders and Zimbabwe qualified but were forced to play in Harare.
Mloyi said with the match in Bulawayo, they had all the motivation to redeem themselves after the 8-3 annihilation by Caps.
“I think what also sparred us on is that we had won the Chibuku Trophy and our tour of Zambia earlier where we visited some of the camps that housed Zipra and Zapu.
“That morale boosting trip to find us in such a historic cup final we had only one thing to do – to win the match for the Fallen and Living Heroes. We beat Dynamos 3-1, a team that went on to win the league title four times on the trot. It was a formidable side and I remember coming up against David George and Kembo Chunga,2 he said.
David Mhlanda put Highlanders in the lead with David Mandigora finding space between Mloyi and the late Fanuel Ncube to score Dynamos’ consolation.
Amahlolanyama were to get a further two goals from legend Tymon Mabaleka.
“To have won two tournaments in our first year back in the fold was a great achievement,” said Mloyi.
The achievements were a fitting tribute to the ageing group of Majuta Mpofu, Mhlanga, Mabaleka and Lawrence Phiri who retired with silverware two years later as Bosso would return to the podium after winning the Chibuku Trophy in 1984.
Mloyi recalls Colsen Mabeza coming in for Kembo Chunga before he could cross the great divide to Bosso in 1981.
The Bosso legend believes the two teams had some of the best ever squads assembled by both.
He paid tribute to heroes and said he was happy to have won the trophy twice 1980 and 1986 in his career.
Mloyi retired in 1987 after over 13 years with the Bosso first team.