Football Legend Shackman "Mr Goals" Tauro Dies

Tauro, who would have been 50 on June 28, died on Wednesday night at Harare’s St Anne’s Hospital.

Condolence messages poured in from across the country yesterday as Zimbabweans began to adjust to the sad reality of life without one of its best footballers of all-time. 

Wellington Nyatanga, the Zifa president, led tributes to the man he called "probably the most naturally gifted footballer of his generation, one of the greatest footballers Zimbabwe and the Southern African Region has ever produced".

In a message to the Tauro family, he said: "The Zifa president, Wellington Nyatanga, on behalf of Zifa and on his personal behalf, the Zifa Board, Regions, Provinces, affiliates and all staff members, would like to send their condolences to the entire Tauro family following the untimely death of Shakeman ‘Mr Goals’ Tauro.

"It came as a surprise to us and the entire Zimbabwe football fraternity to learn that Tauro had passed away. His death is a great loss to Zimbabwe football because we felt Tauro still had a lot to offer in assisting in the development of the game in the country.

A minute’s silence is to be observed at every Premiership football match this weekend in Tauro’s memory.

Eddie "Mboma" Nyatanga, the vice-president of the Zimbabwe National Soccer Supporters of Zimbabwe, paid a moving and emotional tribute to Tauro, describing him as "one of the greatest sons" of local football.

"Anyone who has seen him as a football fan will never forget him," he said. "Apart from playing for both the senior national team and CAPS United, he made an immense contribution to the game, and enriched the lives of everyone that saw him play. 

"And for the goals, the audacious strikes and all the wonderful memories, CAPS United and its thousands of fans in this country will always be grateful.

"Shacky Tauro should be remembered as the very best at what he did. He was quite simply a football genius."

Chris Sambo, the former chief executive of the Premier Soccer League, said Tauro’s death was a great loss to local football.

"I had the opportunity of working with him and the late Joel Shambo when they were coaching at former Premiership side Blackpool.

"For some of us who have known Shacky from his playing days at CAPS United until his coaching days at Blackpool, we have lost undoubtedly one of the greatest football sons of this country whose scoring skills are yet to be surpassed. 

"I last saw him about a week ago and he looked well. I am really shocked by his untimely death and I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the Tauro family," said Sambo.

Former Dynamos and Black Aces star midfielder Boniface "Keegan" Makuruzo, said local football will never be the same again without Tauro.

"I had the opportunity of rubbing shoulders with Shacky Tauro while he was still playing at CAPS United and I was playing at Black Aces in the early and mid-1980s.

"He was just an unstoppable scoring machine," he said. "Football has lost one of its greats, and I have lost a dear friend. He was a marvellous person."

A statement from his employers at CAPS Holdings said: "It (Tauro’s death) is a big shock to us because he was only in hospital for two days 

"It is a big loss for the football fraternity considering he was the best striker to ever emerge from this country.

"We have lost a legend and we are trying to see that we give him a befitting send-off."

Wellington Mpandare, the manager of Premiership side Gunners, said: "It is a very, very sad day for the local soccer fraternity and of course our immediate thoughts are with Tauro’s family, especially the children he has left behind.

"His more than 15 years of loyal service at CAPS United, not to mention his contribution at national level, both as a player and coach, ensure that his name is up there with the likes of George Shaya, the late Peter Nyama, Freddie Mkwesha, the late Stanley Ndunduma, Joel Shambo (late), Moses Chunga, Peter Ndlovu and Sunday Chidzambwa."