A Master of versatility

BULAWAYO – Former Zimbabwe international Master Masiku was the epitome of versatility during his football career.

A product of the famed Highlanders junior policy, Masiku broke into the Bosso first team as a striker while still a teenager back in 1994 but went on to finish his career playing mostly as a defender or a holding midfielder.

HEYDAY: Master Masiku, standing second from left, lines up in a Railstars team photo in 200.

His first match senior team appearance for Highlanders was in a BP Cup final against old enemies Dynamos which ended in a 3-2 victory for the Bulawayo giants.

Masiku, however, failed to command a regular starting berth in the star studded Highlanders side and went a constant feature in the reserve side despite being voted as the most promising junior during the 1994 and 1995 seasons.

This failure to command a first team jersey saw the player moving to Railstars who were playing in the Southern Region First Division alongside another highly regarded Bosso prospect Kelvin “Mtshawa” Maseko in 1997.

The duo helped Railstars win promotion into the top flight in that same year and Masiku was chosen as the Southern Region Soccer Star of the year after an outstanding season that also saw him finishing as the league’s second best goal scorer on 16 goals.

Masiku stayed with Njanji until the year 2001 when he joined the cash rich AmaZulu.

He went on to win his first Premiership league title with Usuthu in 2003 under the leadership of Luke Masomere.

After the demise of AmaZulu in 2005 Masiku rejoined Railstars before retracing his steps back to his roots when he signed for his boyhood club Highlanders at the beginning of the 2006 season.

That move proved to be a very fruitful one as he again lifted the Premiership league title after Bosso’s trailblazing victory under Methembe “Mayor” Ndlovu.

Masiku was at this time playing either as a right back or a holding midfielder and his versatility came in handy after Bosso had lost some of its stars like Honour Gombami and Vusa Nyoni to overseas teams.

“I believe that as a player one has got to be prepared to play in any position that the coach assigns him to play and during my career I would find myself being deployed to play in various positions,” Masiku said.

Masiku did not stay for long at Highlanders as he soon left to join Mbabane Highlanders of Swaziland in 2007.

He stayed with the Swazi side for two years before packing his bags and heading for Botswana to join Nico United after being lured by former Highlanders and Warriors great Madinda Ndlovu, who was in charge of the Botswana outfit.

After a three – year stint with the Tswana team Masiku came back to Zimbabwe and featured briefly for Beitbridge based Tripple B who he helped win promotion into the top flight in 2012.

Masiku, who returned to formal employment upon his return to Zimbabwe, was stationed at the border town at that time but could not continue playing for the Premiership strugglers in the top-flight after relocating to Bulawayo.

“I believe that at 35 years of age I am still fit to be playing competitive football but the problem is that I work shifts and it would be difficult to attend training sessions so I have since hung up my boots,” Masiku said.

The former utility player was capped at various age group national teams and also featured in the senior national team.

He could have gone on to play in South Africa after making the grade at Free State Stars in 1999 but the deal fell through after Railstars allegedly demanded too much money from the South African side.

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