PREMIERSHIP side Black Rhinos have embarked on a bid to restore their culture by honouring their living legends.
Former midfielder Stanford “Stix” Mutizwa became the first beneficiary of this initiative on his 62nd birthday over the weekend.
The Zimbabwe National Army side, who have fallen from an iconic giant of domestic football to a lightweight club, have sought to re-establish themselves in the game by roping in their former sons.
Several legends from the team, including Eddie Matsika, Maronga “The Bomber” Nyangela, Edward Dube and Jack Mutandagayi, were present at the event held in full conformity to the official Covid-19 health guidelines protocol in Westlea.
Launching the initiative, Black Rhinos secretary-general, Edward Mutukwa, said it was high time the club honour their living legends and consult them for the good of the team.
“Black Rhinos is a storied club and that profile was built by these legends. We have sought to do away with that system whereby teams only remember their heroes after they die,” said Mutukwa.
“We are saying, as a club, we need to remember that there are so many players, some of them picked permanent injuries, for the Black Rhinos badge.
“We are saying all those legends should come forward, we want to honour them for the service they rendered to our institution.
“That medal may mean a lot to them and, most importantly, we need their input.
“We want to restore our ethos, our values and our culture as Black Rhinos. This is the reason why we are engaging all these legends.
“They played football a long time ago and they achieved a lot. Of course, a lot has happened and there have been changes on virtually every aspect of the game but their input can still be handy.”
Mutizwa, who has been given the mandate to develop the revived junior teams of the club, said Rhinos could be on their way back to glory with this latest approach.
“Firstly, I am humbled by this gesture, by this honour bestowed on me by Black Rhinos on my special day,” said Mutizwa.
“As legends of the game, we are mostly being talked about, maybe in the bars, by the older generation and it is very common for a Black Rhinos player at the moment to meet Eddie (Matsika) and fail to know him.
“But, this move, to bring back the legends to always come and mingle with the current team can actually be the best source of inspiration created by the team.
“As part of the Black Rhinos legends, I would like to applaud this noble move by the executive and everyone involved in the running of the team affairs.
“I have been part of Black Rhinos technical team before, together with some legends, but the new initiative could be the game-changer without any doubt.
“Every team should have a culture and it is this culture that every concerned Black Rhinos stakeholder has been longing for.
“It doesn’t necessarily mean that legends should have positions at Rhinos, no, but that fact that you are being recognised, and given the opportunity to provide your input, is a good step in the right direction.”
Rhinos coach, Herbert Maruwa, had assembled a decent team which spent close to a month on pre-season training in Kariba before the start of the 2020 season was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.