Friday Phiri dies

HARARE - The local football fraternity was yesterday plunged into mourning following the death of former Warriors and CAPS United left winger Friday “Amayenge” Phiri.

Phiri died yesterday morning at his home in Glen Norah, Harare after a long battle with cancer.

He was 60. Mourners are gathered at 6457 Glen A Flats, Chitubu, Harare.

Phiri, who was also known as “Breakdown” during his heyday, is survived by his wife Roseline and three children — two boys and a girl.

Family spokesperson Ranias Gwatida confirmed the sad news and said burial arrangements would be announced in due course.

“He died at home this morning (yesterday) around 10am. He has been battling with cancer, I think for almost two years now. It was lung cancer,” Gwatida said.

“We are saddened by his death as he has left a huge vacuum which is difficult to fill. Burial arrangements will be announced in due course.”

CAPS United president Farai Jere expressed shock and sadness over the death of Phiri and revealed that the club will be assisting the family with funeral expenses.

“I have learnt with great consternation and immense sadness of the passing away of Amayenge,” Jere said.

“It’s a sad story to the CAPS United family and the entire football fraternity and surely our football will be poorer without Friday Phiri.

“It is an undeniable veracity that he served the club and his country with great distinction and his void will be extremely difficult to fill.

“Our thoughts are with his family during this difficult moment and as CAPS United we are assisting them with the funeral.”

Former teammate and long time friend Antony Kambani was also shocked by Phiri’s death and described him as a brother.

Just this week Kambani together with other football legends had joined hands to raise funds to support Phiri alongside Dynamos legend David Mandigora, who had his leg amputated recently due to sugar diabetes complications.

Ex-CAPS United players such as Charlie Johns, Carlos Max, Charles Sibanda, Joe Mugabe, Frank Nyamukuta and Mpumelelo Dzowa among others had joined hands to help Phiri.

“It’s a great loss. Whenever I had a problem I would share with him. He was more like a brother to me and I am very saddened,” Kambani said.

Phiri made his name at CAPS United when he formed part of the all-conquering side that won the club’s first league title in 1979 after joining from Mutare United that same year.

Some of the players he played with at Makepekepe include Shaky Tauro (late), Joel “Jubilee” Shambo (late), Size Torindo, Brenna Msiska, Carlos Max, Clever Muzuwa, William Chikauro and Dixon Ngwanya.

Although a further league title would elude Makepekepe in the 80s, the side continued to dominate especially when it came to knockout competitions.

That Makepekepe side won numerous knockout competitions including the Chibuku Cup and Natbrew Cup a feat which earned the side the title “Cup Kings”.

As a player, Phiri was blessed with good technique and dribbling skills while his physique made it hard for defenders to get him off the ball hence the moniker “Breakdown”.

After ending his playing career, Phiri took up coaching starting with the Makepekepe juniors where he nurtured a number of the club’s future stars like the late Edzai Kasinauyo, Raymond Undi, Leonard Tsipa and Steve Mbara.

In the Premiership, Phiri had coaching stints with Monomotapa, who he guided into the top flight after winning the 2004 Northern Region Division One title, Eagles FC and his last job in local football was with Triple B back in 2013.

Phiri also had coaching stints with various Young Warriors sides.

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