By Alois Bunjira
I am gravely shocked and deeply saddened at the passing away of my former Chairman at CAPS United, Shephered Bwanya. This is the man I was very close to. I don’t know where to begin talking about what the man did for me. This is really painful and sad .2021 has really started on badly sad note..😭
My first ever meeting with this good man was when we were in Camp with the Under 23 team, preparing for an Olympic games qualifier against Nigeria at UZ in December 1995.
He came to the camp himself to see Stewart Murisa and myself. We were called to meet him by his car near the Wembley Stadium. At that time we had just finished the season with Blackpool but still contracted until 31 December. He quickly briefed us that he wanted us at CAPS United and the coach Steve Kwashi had stressed that he does everything in his power to get us . We told him that we were still contracted to Blackpool but no longer interested in going back there for the next alright. On the other hand though, Dynamos had also approached us through Morison Sifelani.
Mr Bwanya pleaded with us not to join Dynamos as he would give us very good contracts at CAPS United. I told him that I was already preparing to go to Poland as my air ticket had already been bought by Grabowski. If he wanted us, he would have to discuss that with Grabowski.
Because Grabowski didn’t like Dynamos that much, he welcomed the idea of us joining CAPS United. An agreement was then reached that should I not like it in Poland, I would come back and join CAPS United. With that concluded, all was set.
But Mr Bwanya returned to the camp the next day, with contracts, after meeting Grabowski. He said I should just sign before I leave for Poland because he wanted the assurance. We then drove to his office at Geddes where we did the negotiations for the signing on fee, and we signed on the dotted line.
I stayed in Poland for 3 months and later came back to join CAPS United. I played in the Charity Shield final on the day that I landed from Poland. Somehow I had been registered (story for another day). After the match Mr Bwanya told me to go to his office the next day. We discussed my signing on fee and I said I wanted a car plus money. He agreed. The following week I brought someone selling a Toyota Corrola to Mr Bwanya and he was paid cash….leaving the car with me. I couldn’t drive that time, so we had to call my late brother Elias to pick up the car …kkkk
That was the beginning of my great relationship Mr Bwanya .
1996 was a great year for us. We won so many trophies together. What was most interesting, was that each time we won and I scored, Mudhara Freddy Mkwesha(mhsrip) would bring our bonuses to Raylton Sports club. Sometimes he would give me 2 envelopes and whisper to me, “Vakuru, imwe envelope yabva kunaChairman Bwanya. Hanzi imbhasera yenyu vakuru nebasa ramakaita paweekend. Musazoudza vamwe”…kkkkk.
In the mbhasera envilope I would always find a hand written note from Mr Bwanya saying ,”Job well done Alois. We appreciate. Keep it up”.
Later on Mr Bwanya organised a job for me at Geddes Limited where I became the stock controller. I didn’t have any knowledge about the job but Mr Bwanya assigned someone to teach me. Imagine I was actually taught by my assistant….kkkk. It worked well though. Later on, Mr Bwanya would occasionally come slip in an envelope with a cheque under my door, with a note written “Keep it up”. That is how much this this man liked me. He always stressed that I kept it a secret. I don’t know if he was doing the same with the other players …🤣
When I left for South Africa, he is the one who handled my deal and later handed me over to Mike Makaab in South Africa. But the greatest gesture that this man did for me was when my eldest brother Davison passed away while I was in South Africa playing for Qwaqwa Stars. He organised for CAPS United to pay all the Funeral costs and the CAPS United bus provided transportation for mourners to and from the graveyard .It was awesome. My parents couldn’t believe it and were very thankful for that kind gesture.
Then came the moment that changed my whole equation in South Africa. After my brother’s burial, while still at the graveyard, Mr Bwanya called me aside and said, “Alois, you are no longer going back to Qwaqwa Stars. Mike Makaab and myself organised and negotiated for you to go to Wits University. Qwaqwa Stars breached our contract and we terminated your contract. So when you arrive at the airport in Joburg tomorrow, someone from Wits University will be waiting for you. We have organised everything for you .I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited. One day I will tell you guys why I was that excited. I hugged him and thanked him. For sure when I arrived at the OR Tambo airport, I was whisked away by Wits University’s George Mogotsi… and thats how I joined Wits University and had a great fruitful time there for many years.
Years later I would meet Mr Bwanya in Midrand for coffee after I had retired. I had told him I was planning on relocating back to Zimbabwe. At that time Mr Bwanya was now staying in Pretoria. I told him about my plans in Zimbabwe. That is when he told me to get hold of Honourable Supa Mandiwanzira ,who was his brother in law. Honourable Mandiwanzira was running a TV production company then. Mr Bwanya gave me his number. We finished our coffee and said our good byes. That was the last time I saw Mr Bwanya. We would just occasionally communicate on the phone via text.
Am sorry for the long story, but I really wanted you guys to understand the relationship I had Mr Bwanya and what he did for me .He is one person I will never ever forget. He is “tattooed” in my book of great people who played a big part in my life .
I am saddened yes, but his life also deserves to be celebrated. One of the greatest football administrators this country has ever produced. I loved him back and I have the utmost respect. May his dear soul rest in peace …😭😭😭😭…My CHAIRMAN💪💪💪..Rest in Power..💪💪💪