Touchmaster: The man who wanted every piece of the action

The Sunday News

Lovemore Dube

BLACK Mambas players called Honest Musara, The Touchmaster because he liked calling out to his colleagues to just play the ball back to him to strut his stuff in the middle of the park.

The Mufakose-born lad had it all cut for him as he grew up. He was surrounded by a group of footballing friends who all made it to the then Super League and others to the Premiership. 

Others are celebrated football legends.

He may not have hogged the highlights but those that played in his era say he was a menace.

“The name Touchmaster was given to me by Mambas players. When playing I could tell my teammates to do one touch and leave all the dribbling to myself. So I would shout ‘Touch MaBla’, I was a little bit tiny compared to other players but they respected me for my skills. However, the name originated from Mufakose where any player who played with guys who did not know him called him Mabla. That way it appeared like we knew each other as we could call for the ball from one another,” said Musara.

Legendary Masimba Dinyero, the 1989 Soccer Star of the Year referred to Musara as Donadoni after the Italian ball playing master.

Another Black Mamabas stalwart John “Toto” Ncube called Musara, The Machine.

“Ncube gave me that name after the Hulk Hogan/Syd Justice clash. The description of the clash was that two machines had clashed, it was Machine v Machine,” said Musara.

Born on 18 September 1972 in Mufakose, Touchmaster found himself in good space playing street football and junior league soccer with Christopher Pasi, Michael Chipembere, Clayton Munemo, Philemon Mutyakureva, Kennedy and Collin Chihuri, Diva Mhanza, Memory Mucherahowa, Dida Shambo, Taurai and Nyaro Mangwiro, Angirayi Chapo’s younger brother Tendai and Brian Abrahams.

“I played with Abrahams at Arcadia where I remember on that year we beat Dynamos in one of the early stages of the Chibuku Trophy. It was a brief stay. I moved there after being sold by Stanley Marunza,” he said.

He rates the late Caps United official and Northern Region administrator Willard Manyengavana as his biggest influence.

“My biggest influence in the game was Willard Manyengavana, he used to keep the bet money in our games at Moses Chunga’s J Section in Mufakose where we also had Dynamos legend Gift Mpariwa as well as another legend July Sharara,” said Musara.

He said he was recommended from the Dynamos juniors by Sharara who took him to Support Unit. 

Musara would just last two days at the Tomlison side after doing enough to impress authorities at Police Headquarters for a stint with Black Mambas.

“Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga who was patron of the club said I was too good to play Division Two football. So to ensure I stayed at the club upon finding out that I had O-levels, they offered me a scholarship at Lord Malvern where there was coach Isaiah Chawatama and I was captain of the likes of Ernest Chirambadare, Tonde Zingwena, Basil Chisopo, John Mbidzo and Temba Mliswa,” said Touchmaster.

He was influenced by a Mr Nduna who gave him $10 to go for police recruitment against his family’s wish. His father wanted him to train as a teacher or something better since he was bright at school.

Just to make his dad happy he was a temporary teacher for three months.

At Dynamos juniors he as with Simon Chuma, Memory Mucherahowa, Lloyd Mutasa was among the best we had.

He also speaks of one Malebhe and a goalkeeper who was known as Walter, Mutasa and Chuma as having been good talents.

Mucherahowa broke into the Dynamos first team at the age of 16 so he played much longer for the club because he was exceptional.

“I made my debut against Chapungu at Morris Depot. I rose from the bench and made two assists for goals converted by Vivian Nkomo. I did not panic because coming from Dynamos juniors I was used to crowds,” said Musara.

Among the senior players at the club was Reason Dahwa, Dinyero, Collins Kabote, Saul Chaminuka, Gilbert Kapuka, Bernard Chabika, Sherperd Onyimo and Marvellous.

He was to welcome new generation players John Ncube, Martin Bonongwe, Sebastian Mutizirwa, Peter Kachirika and Admire Hanya, years later.

Musara was coached by Max “Malume” Moyo, Daniel Chikanda, Caleb and Peter Phiri.

Musara later played for ZRP Tomlison, Arcadia, Darryn T and Zimbabwe Crackers.

He would at times train with Darryn T as Wieslaw Grawboski liked his play and wanted to ship him to Europe.

Musara suffered a dislocation and Francis Zimunya of Zimbabwe Crackers took him under his management where he would later play with Oscar Molife, Vusi Laher, Allen Mapila, Silver Bhebhe with Dynamos great Angirai Chapo as player/coach.

Musara regards Ronald Sibanda as the most difficulty opponent he faced with Desmond Maringwa as his best player.

He regards the 1980s and early 1990s Mambas as the best side ever assembled by the police force.

Musara thinks the Mambas development structures have not been exploited to the fullest.

About the national game he bemoans standards which he believes have fallen drastically over the past five years and sees youth investment as key to the revival of soccer.

Musara is a retired cop with a Level One badge and is married with four grown up children.