The late former Dynamos talisman George Shaya has been described by some football commentators as the greatest footballer to ever come out of Zimbabwe, or G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time).
Speaking to State media in November last year, former Warriors captain, Peter Ndlovu, who led Zimbabwe at its maiden Africa Cup of Nations in 2004 as skipper, described Shaya as the godfather of football. Said Ndlovu:
We always talk of legends, we are legends of course, but we may talk whatever we want, and bring whatever we may bring, regardless of where you have been, where you have played.
Whatever guys, let’s not kid ourselves, this is a non-starter, this is really a no-show to compare ourselves with this man, we are nothing, we are too far (behind) guys.
Let’s just own up and hand him the crown, all the time, he deserves it, all the time, he deserves respect, we are not going to talk about other people, this man is the one.
In actual fact, we are saying, let’s start from people like Khama (Billiat) and myself, we are the sons of football, let’s go to Madinda (Ndlovu), let’s go to Moses (Chunga), let’s go to Marimo — Misheck and Sunday — those are the fathers of football.
But, when we speak of George Shaya, we are speaking of the godfathers of football, the owners of football in Zimbabwe and, of course, the owners of football, in the world.
The Mastermind did not just come from nowhere but it’s because of his exploits, and all his credentials, in the game of football.
Meanwhile, Jomo Sono (66), widely regarded as one of the greatest South African footballers of all time, yesterday showered Shaya with the ultimate compliment, describing him as the finest attacking footballer to come out of Zimbabwe.
Affectionately known as “The Mastermind,” the five-time Soccer Star of the Year died in Harare yesterday, at the age of 77.
Shaya had battled diabetes and was also diagnosed with dementia, a condition associated with the decline in brain functioning, which has been affecting a number of former professional footballers.