MUTARE – CAPS United on Sunday honoured the club’s late midfielder Blessing “Yogo Yogo” Makunike nine years after his tragic death in a traffic accident.
The Green Machine players paid homage to the late midfield maestro by laying a wreath at his grave at Yeovil Cemetery in Mutare a day after they inched forward in the Mbada Diamond Cup by edging Motor Action in a marathon penalty shootout 7-6.
The crash also claimed the lives of his two teammates – Shingirai Arlon and Gary Mashoko as well as two fans.
United CEO Joe Makuwire said this was meant to assure the Makunike family that, “as CAPS we don’t forget our children… We don’t come here often and we thought we should remember Blessing Makunike.”
“We are celebrating his legacy and he is one of the greatest players ever to emerge from CAPS,” Makuwire said of the late star, who once had a trial stint at current English Premiership log leaders Arsenal back in 2004.
Makuwire hinted that Makunike was only still plying his trade in the domestic league as he pursued chances of playing in top European leagues.
Yogo Yogo’s father, Martin Makunike said his family was encouraged by the gesture which he said proved that “we are still together.”
Lloyd Chinawa, a member of the Mutare Chapter of the CAPS Supporters’ federation which helped to organise the event also challenged other chapters to do the same for Arlon and Mashoko.
Chinawa said with the gesture United was going to win both the Mbada Diamond Cup and the Castle Premiership as this had certainly made Yogo-Yogo happy.
The Green Machine’s captain, Tapiwa Kumbuyani said his team was happy to honour their departed colleague.
“We are pleased to honour our colleague,” Kumbuyani said.
Brenna Msiska, CAPS goalkeepers’ coach said the Makunike family should always remember that the Green Machine will always be their children.
Makunike and his two teammates together with two fans were burnt to death on the March 14 in 2004 when their car hit the pillar of a bridge and caught fire along the Harare-Bulawayo road on their way back from a match.
The tragedy also marked the greatest loss of players’ lives in a single incident in Zimbabwean football.
The accident happened when the players were travelling back from Bulawayo after winning a league match 1 – 2 against Jube Sundowns in which Makunike had made a stellar performance.
The three players did not travel in the team bus, and instead joined the two supporters in their car.