Best of the best

An injury put paid to his promising career, but not before he could show the country what talent he was endowed with. At just the age of 23, the agile Pernell Mckop had played for both Bulawayo giants – Highlanders and Zimbabwe Saints. He had also represented the Warriors and show that he could have become the next Bruce Grobbelaar. He gives us his best of the best.

Bruce Grobbelaar
Bruce Grobbelaar

Best striker I came up against

There were quite a few, like Charles Chirwa, Nhamo Shambira, Rahman Gumbo, Shakeman Tauro and Jerry Chidawa, but the most lethal was Shakeman Tauro. He was highly explosive, proficient both on the ground and in the air. You never knew what he was going to do. I have not seen any equal. He also had a very good physique.

Best Team-mate

Number one has to be my younger brother, Henry “Bully” Mckop, when we played together at Zimbabwe Saints. Then Solly Habib whom I played with at Cosmos and Eagles, a fantastic central defender. Last but not least was the late MisheckSibanda at Zimbabwe Saints.

The size of his heart made up for his small structure and he had an unbelievable football brain. He drove our Championship winning team of 1988.

Best Coach I worked with

There are three. Dave Locke (late), who was my goalkeeper-coach when I was 14 years old at Cosmos and coached me, the now late Lucky Dube and Big Mike Mhlanga, when he played for Olympics. Roy Barreto.

He was also my mentor and encouraged me to get into coaching and got me involved with the national junior and senior national teams. Last but not least, Tendayi Chieza, for his wisdom and insight into the game. He and Barreto formed a great partnership at Saints.

Best Defender I played with

Ephraim Chawanda. They called him The Rock of Gibraltar and he was just that – solid, no weaknesses. Felix Ntutu at Eagles, a football playing defender with a great understanding of the game and as mentioned earlier, SollyHabib. Only injury prevented him from reaching the very top. Last but not least, at Arcadia Karls, in his twilight years, the late Reggie Payne – a Colossus of a man in central defence.

Best Zimbabwean goalkeeper

It has to be JaphetMparutsa, for me the best Zimbabwean keeper after independence. His confidence and his total authority of his 18 area despite his lack of inches was excellent.

A remarkable ‘keeper who stood tall among giants like Big Mike Mhlanga, Frank Mkanga, Raphael Phiri and my childhood friend and training partner, Dube.

Best Team I played for

It has to be the championship-winning teams of Zimbabwe Saints of 1988 and the Highlanders side of 1990.

Both teams were coached by Roy Barreto and both had players of the highest quality. Most important was the family attitude of both clubs, with players who were willing to die for one another.

Best season of my career

This has to be with Saints in 1988 when we won the championship, the reason being that when John Sibanda (late) broke his jaw, I got the honour and opportunity to play in 19 of our 25 unbeaten matches. A memory I will always cherish.

Best line up of my career

It has got to be The Championship winning Saints team of 1989, a team that had no weaknesses and had depth, with players like Obey Sova, the late Stanley Mutasa, Stanford Ntini, Laban Ngoma, the late Ben Nzelengwe, Kenny Mathe. The whole squad was invincible and we had a great executive that gave the platform for success.

My Zimbabwe best 11

Bruce Grobbelaar, Misheck Sibanda, Sunday Marimo, Ephraim Chawanda, Henry Mckop, John Phiri, Peter Ndlovu, Edward Katswere, Stanley Ndunduma, OniasMusana, Shakeman Tauro

I have chosen a team that crosses the divide of generations, but mainly players that I admired.

Post published in: Football
  1. lot chitakasha

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