Where are they now?

“Walker - Texas Ranger”. Only one former Zimbabwean player can lay claim to that nickname – former Highlanders and national team defender, Dazzy Kapenya.

Dazzy Kapenya is one of the Bosso legends.
Dazzy Kapenya is one of the Bosso legends.

The former Bosso stalwart had more than a defender’s talents. Good both on the ground and in the air, boasting well-timed yet clinical tackles, cool as a cucumber and endowed with great leadership qualities, he is one that both the old and current generation of football lovers would like to see back on the field of play.

Setting the former Bosso captain apart from the rest of the country’s defenders was his ability to make that sudden turn, leaving even the most feared striker chasing a dummy.

It was without surprise that he belonged to the Bosso side that swept the championship trophy four times on the trot and the Warriors who made Zimbabwe’s historic qualification to the African Nations Cup. He was one of the very few defenders to bag the Soccer Star of the Year Award.

“Winning games was ingrained in that Highlanders side of the late 90s and early 2000s,” said Kapenya, signed from Corrugated, a then high-riding Bulawayo-based first division side, which also produced the likes of Thabani Masawi and Joel Luphahla.

Alongside his captain, Thulani “Biya” Ncube in central defence, aided by Melusi Ndebele on the left and Abraham Mbambo and later on, Simon Sibanda on the right, Kapenya gave the Bosso defence staying power.

“I miss those days as we demolished whoever stood in our way. We were very united and our motto was ‘no to any lose’ and we achieved that on many occasions, even though we always encountered a tough challenge from Amazulu, Dynamos and Caps United,” said the man who played for the Bulawayo giants between 1997 and 2002.

“Being crowned champions four times in a row proved we were just the best. My partnership with Biya kept us rolling because he was a great commander on the pitch and I have never seen a player of his calibre.”

For three seasons on the trot – 1999-2001, the championship race, Bosso came out tops as the league race was decided on the last day. They won it by a massive 20 points in 2002 and Kapenya was crowned best footballer in the country.

“We were just untouchable and dominated in the country, but we failed to qualify for African Champions’ league’s mini-league phase for the three occasions that I tried with the side and I was disappointed when we were eliminated by Young Africans of Tanzania, who beat us 2-0 at Barbourfields.

We threw away a good chance, after we had held them to a 2-2 draw in their home ground, but they embarrassed us at BF, resulting in fans hurling missiles onto the pitch and the match being abandoned.

“This came after our earlier failure to take advantage of a 3-0 first leg, second round win against Cameroon’s Sable de Bartie, who beat us by the same score line in the second leg and booted us out on penalties in our first attempt in 2000. We were just not lucky enough to progress because we were such a good side.”

Kapenya attracted the ire of Bosso fans when he abandoned the side in 2003 to join Thomas Mapfumo’s then cash-rich Sporting Lions. He only lasted a season with them, before he was lured to the lucrative SA Premiership by the now defunct Manning Rangers.

He once described that tenure as his worst ever in a football club and left acrimoniously when the club was relegated in 2007 to join Dynamos. Sunday Chidzambga had asked him to help resuscitate a Dynamos side that had lost many players at the beginning of that season. He lasted two seasons and rejoined Bosso. He later went to a first division side, FC Windermere also in Bulawayo.

He hung up his boots in 2010 and is now involved with grassroots soccer development with Josiah Primary school in Emakhandeni, having recently quit as coach of first division side, Emakhandeni Pirates.

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Post published in: Football