Takudzwa Chitsiga, Harare Bureau
JUST as he often did during his playing career with the Warriors, Caps United legend Friday Phiri brought together the domestic football family as they united to pay their last respects to the former striker who was buried at Zororo Memorial Park near Chitungwiza yesterday.
Phiri starred for both Zimbabwe and Caps United as a bustling striker before he ventured into coaching.
But on Friday morning, the former Monomotapa, Caps United, Eagles and Border Strikers coach breathed his last at his Glen Norah home at the age of 60 after succumbing to liver cancer.
Hordes of people including his former teammates, protégés, opponents adminsitraors and supporters alike thronged Zororo Memorial Park to bury Phiri with Caps United and Dynamos supporters also putting aside their rivalry to come and lay to rest the ex-Warriors hit man.
The club that gave Phiri his fame as a player — Caps United led the way in mourning their legend and took care of their former coach’s funeral expenses.
Caps United president Farai Jere told mourners that although Friday was no longer in their coaching ranks, his club had continued to consult him for advice and was poorer without his counsel and advice.
“I am very happy for everyone who pitched up to give farewell to one of our legends who had Caps United at heart.
“We used to work closely with Phiri and would consult him every time we needed his assistance.
“He was a great guy who looked after Caps United players welfare as he would always be up-to-date with each and every individual.
“It’s painful that we lost him but for all soccer loving supporters we thank you for being with us at this time of bereavement,” said Jere.
Just like the Caps United leadership and supporters, friends, family and former teammates were also by Friday’s final resting place at Zororo with all those who spoke giving eulogies about his contribution to the game.
Phiri had brief coaching stints in England, South Africa and Swaziland.
Former Zimbabwe and Caps United right back Carlos Max who played alongside Phiri at both the Green machine and in the Warriros said he had been pained by the demise of a man who he described as having also been endowed with good leadership qualities.
“It is so sad that we lost one of our own who did well both as a player and coach. I joined Caps United and Friday was one of the senior players and he gave us direction.
“He was a good guy ever smiling and a good brother who showed us the way,” said Max.
ZPC Kariba assistant coach Brenna Msiska who played alongside Friday at Caps United said the former striker’s death had dealt the domestic game a huge blow.
“Friday Phiri was a good player who could communicate well and score goals. He could play as a left attacking winger or a striker and he could score goals at will. He was a reliable player who easily tormented defenders.
“We always looked up to him and he had a good career,” Msiska said.
Dynamos assistant coach Biggie Zuze might have played against Friday but the duo would later combine their coaching talents at Monomotapa and was also at Zororo for the burial.
“He was a brother to me, we played against each other, he was a brilliant striker and we worked together as well.”
A number of coaches and former players including David George, Sunday and Misheck Chidzambwa, Moses Chunga, Steve Chikodzi, Emmanuel Nyahuma, Nesbert Saruchera, Alois Bunjira, Charles Sibanda, and Clayton Munemo also attended the burial.