Just a day after the death of Highlanders legend, there was more bad news for the Zimbabwean football family yesterday when it learnt that another legend — Alwyn Hagen — had died.
Hagen, who used to turn out for Arcadia United and Black Aces in the 1970s and early 1980s, is reported to have died in a car accident in Botswana on Thursday.
He was 65.
Hagen’s former teammate at both Black Aces and Arcadia United, Byron “Piri Piri” Manuel, announced his death on his Facebook wall yesterday.
“My deepest sympathy to all family and friends on the passing of a friend and soccer buddy, Alwyn Hagen.
“He was a hard working, speedy winger with accurate goalscoring crosses,” Manuel later told The Herald on Saturday from his base in Canada yesterday.
Hagen’s untimely death was also confirmed yesterday by another former Arcadia United player, Charlie “Maskiri” White.
“Yes, he died in a car accident in Botswana but I do not have all the details. Byron Manuel, who is in Canada, telephoned me this morning.
“Alwyn Hagen played for both Arcadia United and Black Aces in the 1970s and early 1980s.
“I know he grew up in Arcadia Square in Harare, went to Morgan High School and was an Arcadia junior team product before he graduated to play for the club’s senior team and then moved on to Black Aces where he played under the mentor-ship of the late former national team manager Jimmy ‘Daddy’ Finch.
“He also played for Dynamos Under-13s with James Divitte and another Dynamos favourite Ronnie “Nduna” Davis under the late former DeMbare goalkeeper Josiah Akende.
“Alwyn Hagen was one of those lads who were likeable and was a strongly built player in his days. Nothing ever ruffled him.
“He played with me in Arcadia United’s reserves as a left winger before moving to Black Aces where he also played as a winger.
“He scored a memorable goal, a thunderous drive from the halfway line against Highlanders at Barbourfields in the early eighties,” said White, speaking from his base in Luton, England.
Another former Arcadia United star player, Carlos Max, said Hagen was “a gentleman both off and on the pitch”.
“Alwyn Hagen was a very charismatic player, not only in football but in life. During his playing days, he mainly played as a striker with the likes of Bethal Salis and George Rollo at Arcadia United before he played for Black Aces alongside Byron Manuel,” Max said.
Pernell McKop, who also played alongside Hagen in the early 1980s, said the late former striker was a hard working player who could shoot with both legs.
“He (Hagen) was a hard running, hard working player who never stopped running. Highly explosive, played off both feet, could shoot well with both feet, but mainly it was his industry on the field of play,” McKop said.
Hagen was lured to the now-defunct former Premiership side Black Aces by coach Finch and at “Shaisa Mufaro” he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Daniel Chikanda, Simon Mudzudzu, Clever Hunda, Wonder Chisetera, July “Jujuju” Sharara, Charles Gwazo, Bernard Kuwana, Byron “Piri Piri” Manuel, Booker Muchenu, Fresh Chamarengah and Peter Manyara.
And soon after Zimbabwe attained its Independence in 1980, Hagen was once called into the Warriors by the late John Rugg and he had the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with fellow talented players such Sunday (Marimo) Chidzambwa, Joseph Zulu, Robert Godoka, David “Yogi” Mandigora, Oliver Kateya (late), Max Tshuma (late), Bruce Grobbelaar, Byron Manuel, Shacky Tauro (late) and Stanford “Stix” M’tizwa.