He might not have become a household name like his former Black Rhinos teammates, but Leslie “Muchinda” Kamuyoyo, who died in a car accident on Sunday, was an integral part of the army side.
The accident in Harare also claimed the life of a female passenger and also injured Kamuyoyo’s life-long friend and teammate, Gift “Shaft” Makoni, who remains in a critical condition at a local hospital.
Another female passenger is also in a critical condition at the same hospital.
Kamuyoyo, who was 61, leaves behind four children – two boys Kevias and Tawanda and two girls, Georgina and Charlotte.
Mourners are gathered at No. 3880 Chipere Close, Budiriro 2 in Harare.
The Mbare-bred Kamuyoyo, a tricky forward who was equally at home on both wings, was part of the Rhinos squad that won the League and Cup double in their maiden year in the top-flight league in 1984.
A quiet and unassuming character on the field of play, “Muchinda” let his masterly ball control, vision and wizardry do all the talking.
He joined Rhinos from BAT Ramblers where he was the team’s playmaker at the end of the 1982 season.
It was at Ramblers where Kamuyoyo wrote his own piece of history when he became the first player, in local football, to score two free-kicks in one match.
He accomplished this feat in a 1981 Castle Cup first round match against Dynamos at Gwanzura after he beat the country’s leading ‘keeper Japhet Muparutsa.
That match ended in a 2-2 draw before Ramblers lost the replay 3-1.
Kamuyoyo was later joined in the “two free-kick goals in one match” record book by Elvis “Chuchu” Chiweshe (Eagles, 1983) and Maxwell “MaRhino” Dube (Chapungu, 2001).
Kamuyoyo was lured to Rhinos by coaches Shepherd Murape and the late Ashton “Papa” Nyazika.
The slippery winger joined a galaxy of top stars who included Stanford “Stix” Mutizwa, Stanley “Sinyo” Ndunduma, Maronga “The Bomber” Nyangela, Muparutsa, Lovemore Chikunha, David Mukahanana, Eddie Matsika, Hamid Dhana and Simon “AK” Mugabe, William “Weeds” Chikauro, Nyangela and Makoni.
While his attacking colleagues in the Rhinos juggernaut — Nyangela and Chidawa — possessed dazzling speed, and deadly marksmanship, Kamuyoyo used his dribbling technique, and deceptive body swerves, to waltz past opponents.
He was also part of the Rhinos squad that reached the quarter-finals of the then African Cup of Club Champions in 1985 where they lost to Senegalese top side US Goree.
However, he would be back on the winners’ podium two years later as Chauya Chipembere captured their second League title and Chibuku Trophy.
After he hung up his boots, in the early ’90s, Kamuyoyo had various coaching stints with the army teams around the country.
He was a self-anointed story teller whose favourite topic was “The Black Rhinos Sound of Music” where his voice would rise in pitch as he developed his narration about the side’s classic encounters.
And his most memorable clash was the two-legged affair in the African Club Champions tournament when they knocked out Power Dynamos of Zambia in 1985.
Kamuyoyo put up a man-of-the-match performance in the first match in Lusaka as the Zimbabweans won 2-1 before drawing with the Alex Chola-led opponents 1-1 in the return leg at Rufaro.
“Leslie was one of the most skilful players I played with,” said Mutizwa. “He seemed to have a sixth sense on the pitch.
“On many occasions, when I won possession in the centre of the park, he would race away to my right, or left, and stand in a particular spot where he knew where I would float the ball to.
“And, he would still give me useful tips when I later became Rhinos head coach.”
His former coach Murape, speaking from his base in South Africa, revealed Kamuyoyo was “one of the most intelligent players” he ever coached.
“That Rhinos outfit was like a well-oiled machine. We were majestic in all departments and Leslie’s cog fitted in perfectly in that apparatus . . . whether he was playing as a centre striker or at both wings.
“He was also a very disciplined player who followed our instructions. My deepest condolences to the entire Kamuyoyo family on their sad loss,” Murape said.
Black Rhinos also sent a condolence message to the Kamuyoyo family yesterday.
“The Black Rhinos family has learnt with shock the passing on of club legend Leslie ‘Muchinda’ Kamuyoyo through a road traffic accident.
“We have lost a former player who has remained committed to the team even after his playing days were over.
“Rest in peace Leslie, we will always remember you. What a bad day for Chipembere.”