Mwale praises Highlanders icon The late Barry Daka

Sikhumbuzo Moyo, Senior Sports Reporter

THE late Highlanders legend Barry Daka has been hailed for setting up vibrant junior structures within the five Hwange Colliery compounds that later produced stars that starred for the coalminers.

Paying tribute to Daka at a funeral service on Wednesday, former Hwange goalkeeper and coach Weekly Mwale said it was through the legend’s initiative that Hwange remained a formidable force on the local scene for a number of years in the 1970s.

Even their Castle Cup triumphs in 1971 and 1973 were achieved when the former Highlanders’ player and coach was with the coalminers.

“We had not won any trophies, but we won our first accolade in 1971, the Castle Cup, and repeated the same feat in 1973 when Daka was with us. We beat teams like Callies and Dynamos. I have two of the legends here who played together with Daka, Jimmy Sibanda and Twymon Ncube,” said Mwale.

He said when Daka joined the then Wankie, he was employed at a local retail shop and would always commute between Hwange and Bulawayo to play for Highlanders, which was not only taxing physically, but financially as well.

“He decided to join Hwange and was given a job at the sports centre. In Hwange we have five compounds that had sports centres and Daka introduced football in all those centres where he was training youngsters. Hwange produced a lot of players that illuminated the topflight league. That was a project left by this man here and it pulled us for a very long time. 

“It produced great players like Austin Ncube, Daniel ‘Dididi’ Khumalo, among others,” said Mwale.

He said Daka spent most of his time with youngsters despite having made it big in local football. Hwange were relegated from the PSL for the second time inside a decade last year and will be plying their trade in the second tier Zifa Southern Region Division One League.

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