The Sunday News
BORN to a father who played lower division football for ZPC Kariba and Circle United, it was no surprise that Daniel Veremu ended up taking up the sport, albeit to a higher level.
His father Danny played with the likes of renowned lower division coach Bigboy Mawiwi. Born on 18 March 1985 in Kariba, Daniel attended Tafara 1 Primary School and proceeded to nearby Tafara 2 High School before another stint at two other secondary schools in Mutoko, Katsande and Makosa.
Playing as a striker from the beginning, Daniel played for the same primary school team with former Caps, Moroka Swallows and Zimbabwe right back Gilbert Mapemba.
Another star of the last decade he rubbed shoulders with at elementary level was Pride Tafirenyika in the Primary Schools District Select side.
“I was in the same district team with Pride Tafirenyika in 1997 and we won the Crystal Tournament,” said Daniel.
He said what developed his interest in the sport was the fact that his father always took him along to his football matches.
“I used to go with my father to watch him play and also as boys we loved to play the sport and my uncle Justin Chatiza used to support me a lot,” he said.
His exploits as a striker continued well into Division Two football where in one season while turning out for Commando Bullets he scored 74 goals in the Zifa Harare Province league.
To land at Bullets, he had been recommended by then Mutoko South Member of Parliament Olivia Muchena.
“She organised a tournament in 2003 and she recommended me to Black Rhinos after I had played well. I did not make the grade but Coach Sam Mavenyengwa saw something in me and gave me an opportunity at Commando Bullets.
“There were great guys like Farai Kahembe, Wellington Gono and that gave me the opportunity to see players like Melody Wafawanaka, Selemani Phiri, Kastigu and Menard Mupera. We shared the same facilities with Black Rhinos,” said Daniel.
Despite not representing his country at junior level, Daniel developed to one of the best centre backs in the country.
His only medal as a junior is the Crystal Under-14 title.
Tall, good in the air, with medium pace and a tight marker, he took no prisoners on the field with a fair but firm tackle.
He made his Premiership debut for Shooting Stars in 2008 against Monomotapa. Daniel already had a medal to his collection by the time he made his league debut as his side Shooting Stars had beaten Highlanders 1-0 in the
Independence Cup final.
They had beaten Dynamos 3-0 in the semi-finals and that helped ease his nerves ahead of his first league match as he had faced the hottest tests of local football.
“On my debut league match I marked Monomotapa’s Eddie Chitato. He was physically strong and had powerful shots. I partnered Gunthrie Zhokinyi,” said Daniel, with a chuckle adding that he never made it to the Soccer Stars of the Year calendar as with his defence partner they were always among those disqualified for many yellow cards at selection.
He assets that reading the opponent’s mind was among his key weapons on the field and was hard to beat on one versus one situations.
“I was also a good header of the ball,” obviously helped by his over 1,83m height.
The former defender who moved to FC Platinum in 2011 in a hyped move that left Caps United clutching thin air after he had earlier signed for them, praised the late coach Partson Ndabambi who plucked him from Division Two side Commando Bullets and made him a regular at Harare United once owned by Regis Dzenga.
Daniel was a star in passing and very outstanding in the long diagonal pass that saw him play a part in some of the goals scored by his team.
Fans called him Dangerous Bharanzi because he took his tasks with relative ease but the end product was that of an accomplished defender whose toil on the pitch landed several caps and silverware.
Daniel is now assistant coach to legendary Norman Mapeza and is proud of his haul on the pitch.
He would add two more Independence Cup wins to his 2008 one with Shooting Stars getting to the podium in 2012 and 2014.
He won the Cosafa Cup with the Warriors, two runners up medals in the BancABC Cup, league runners-up slot with FC Platinum and two league titles as assistant coach to Norman Mapeza after venturing into coaching upon retirement.
He played over 250 first class games on the domestic scene. His first goal in the Premiership was against Lancashire and regards Cuthbert Malajila as the toughest opponent he ever faced.
The former Chapungu, Dynamos and Highlanders scoring machine, Malajila, scored for fun in the Premiership as he rose to be king in the box.
Never a fancy striker Malajila knew how to choose his spot and was first off the mark when it came to rebounds in the box, hence many defenders had nightmares containing him.
Daniel’s most memorable match was beating Zambia 3-1 in the Cosafa Senior Challenge final.
His worst nightmare is the own goal he scored in a clash with Dynamos in the Castle Lager Premiership decider in 2011.
“The own goal against Dynamos in the title decider was my worst match. I scored an own goal and we (FC Platinum) finished second to Dynamos because of that,” said Daniel.
Daniel, who moved from Shooting Stars to Gunners before landing at FC Platinum, says he enjoyed his playing days as most of the clubs he played at managed to finish in the top four of the championship race with 2012 his worst after FC Platinum ended the season on seventh.
A foot injury at the age of 30, cut short his career and he was lucky to have a club that kept faith in him and saw potential of a coach in the making.
He regards Thulani “Biya” Ncube as his best local player and as a youngster he supported Delma Lupepe’s AmaZulu.
A Caf B licence holder, Daniel speaks highly of his mentor and boss, Mapeza.
“Working with the legendary Mapeza is the best thing ever in my life. He is very disciplined and dedicated to his work. He is very straight forward, he is a good teacher, motivator who is never satisfied with himself, always challenging himself for more.
“I wish people could understand his philosophies and football will develop under him. With the guidance I am getting God willing, someday I will be one of the best coaches in the continent,” said Daniel.
He had words of gratitude to Coach Amoyo who worked with him as a junior, Mavenyengwa, Ndabambi, Valinhos who gave him a Warriors cap, the late Benjamin Moyo, Rahman Gumbo, Tendai Chikuni, Philani Mabhena and Lloyd Mutasa.
“The coaches and Amai Olivia Muchena made my football journey sail smoothly and I am indebted to them and the supportive FC Platinum family who are led by a great man George Mawere,” said Daniel.
He is married and lives with his family in Zvishavane.