Nyazika: A legendary coach

HARARE - One cannot talk of Black Rhinos and CAPS United’s rise to prominence without mentioning the name Ashton “Papa” Nyazika, a man who guided both clubs to their first Zimbabwean football titles.

A colourful character who never shied away from a challenge, Nyazika teamed up with Lovemore “Mukadota” Nyabeze in 1979 to lead the Green Machine to their first league title that arrived six years after the club’s formation in 1973.

Makepekepe also won the country’s richest knockout tournament, the Chibuku Trophy, that same year.

The then Manchester Road boys went on to win the Rothmans Shield and the Zifa Cup the following year, an inspirational run that soon earned them the moniker Cup kings.

In 1982 Nyazika joined Black Rhinos at its formation as Shepherd Murape’s assistant.

The two would go on to forge a formidable combination, helping Rhinos to a double in their first season in the Super League after they won the league title in 1983 and the Zifa Cup.

But more than Nyazika’s championship winning attributes was his ability to guide teams from lower divisions into the then Super League that endeared him to opponents and critics alike.

His illustrious coaching career, which spanned over two decades, really rose to distinction in 1976 when he scaled great heights at the now defunct Glens Strikers.

Under his tutelage, Nyazika shepherded Strikers from the lower division to win promotion into the Super League.

It was at Strikers that he discovered one of the best midfielders in Zimbabwean football, Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa who later made his name at CAPS United and Black Rhinos.

With post-independent Premiership sides CAPS United, Black Rhinos, Blackpool, Lancashire Steel and Motor Action, Nyazika would grow in fame and status.

His first port of call after independence was at Black Rhinos.

The team’s success in the league came as no surprise after they assembled a strong and talented outfit, drawing players from the cream of Dynamos and CAPS United sides.

Following their championship winning exploits in 1983, “Chauya Chipembere” went on to win their second league title and the Chibuku Trophy in 1987.

The Africa Cup of Club Championship campaign that followed was however, not as fruitful, with the side crashing out in the first round, with a 4-3 aggregate loss to Mauritian champions Sunrise.

Nyazika would leave the army outfit at the end of 1989 when he was promoted to director of coaching in the army.

However, a sudden turn of events in 1993 saw Nyazika being convicted of rape and sentenced to seven years in prison.

He served 40 months at Chikurubi Maximum Prison and was released in March 1997.

But that sad chapter in his life did little to dampen his coaching spirit.

Papa joined the now defunct Premier Soccer League side Blackpool after his release from prison, though his stint was short-lived after being fired in 1998 for poor results.

In July 1999, Nyazika moved to another Premiership side, Lancashire Steel.

At Lancashire, he made waves by guiding the side to their first silverware — the Madison Trophy.

He also led the Midlands side to their most sensational and memorable victory, a 2-1 win over CAPS United in a Madison Trophy final at the National Sports Stadium in November 1999.

In 2000, the nomadic coach joined Motor Action.

However, he quit the Mighty Bulls after three months to join CAPS United.

He again quit United and joined Masvingo United at the beginning of 2001 season.

It was at Masvingo where Nyazika collapsed and died in 2001 while waiting for medication at Masvingo General Hospital. He was diabetic.

Former Mamelodi Sundowns coach Ian Gorowa paid tribute to the legendary coach: “I worked with many coaches and I will always appreciate what all of them did in improving my game, but Papa always had an effect on me. He motivated me the most.”

      Ashton Nyazika Timeline
1976: Nyazika joins Glens Strikers and discovered one of the finest midfielders Stanford ‘Stix’ Mtizwa.

1979: Joins CAPS United and teamed up with Lovemore ‘Mukadota’ Nyabeze lead the Green Machine side to win the league title and Chibuku Trophy.

1980: Wins the Rothmans Shield and Zifa Cup with CAPS United.

1983: Joins Black Rhinos as Shepherd Murape’s assistant.

1984: Wins the double (League and Zifa Cup) as Murape’s assistant.

1987: Appointed Black Rhinos head coach and landed the league title and the Chibuku Trophy.

1989: Appointed Director of coaching in the army.

1993: Convicted of rape and sentenced to jail.

1997: Joins the now defunct Blackpool.

1999: Moves to Lancashire Steel and wins the Madison Trophy after beating CAPS United in the final.

2001: Appointed Motor Action head coach and lasts only three months, re-joining CAPS United.

2001: Quits CAPS United and joined Masvingo United.

2001: Dies at Masvingo General Hospital. - Blessings Mashaya and Farayi Machamire

Comments (1)

I really really thank you for your article.It feels like yesterday that he passed away.Ndokutendai shuwa for aknowledging what he did in and for zim football.

Emson - 21 November 2014

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