Connect with us

Support The NewsHawks


Farewell Norman – natural leader, good footballer, and fellow Bulldog

And I remember the very first time I saw him play, his first touch told me he was something special.




FRIDAY morning I woke up to a call from my close friend Tinashe “Mwendaz” Ndudzo.

“Tsano,” he said, his voice solemn.

“Manzwa here kuti mupfanha wenyu Norman ashaika (have you head of your youngster Norman’s passing)?”

In our Shona language, “kushaika” would commonly mean getting lost, or dead.

No wanting to cause alarm, or believe the worst, I chose to go with the earlier.

Norman lost? How? Where? But I had heard correctly.

Norman Maroto, whom we called Lumumba, was indeed no more.

Immediately my mind took me back on a journey to 1997, when the first seed of the famous Kidznet of Dynamos was sowed.

I was at Churchill Boys High then, and I remember that year, three boys who had already played for Dynamos joined our form four stream on football bursaries.

These were Nyasha Chazika, Obey Murefu and Murape Murape.

Norman — who was also nicknamed Nomara — was a fresh-faced form one pupil at Churchill alongside his friends Esau Amisi and Kuziva Mbuwa.

The three lads stuck together, never leaving each other’s side, probably due to the culture shock of a new environment that was Churchill.

Yet they were very good footballers, so good they went straight into the Under-16 side at one of Zimbabwe’s best footballing schools.

That began the life of the prolific Norman Maroto.

And I remember the very first time I saw him play, his first touch told me he was something special.

As they grew into the culture of Churchill, Norman and his friends got accustomed, more confident, and became proud Bulldogs, the nickname of our great school.

From the two years I watched him at Churchill, I believed he was packaged to be a superstar and a leader.

In 1998 when I took over the first-team captaincy from the goalkeeper Obey Murefu, I made sure that I supported the juniors, which was made all the easier because my vice-captain bought into the vision.

Leo Kurauzvione, despite his withdrawn personality, was a great deputy of mine.

When I got injured early in the season, Leo took over the captaincy, whilst I helped coach the Under-16s.

The boys took a liking to me, calling me Coach Jirvaldo.

That’s when I first noticed Norman’s leadership skills. 

One day during training, I screamed instructions to Norman’s pal, Kuziva, using his late brother’s nickname Yabo.

Kuziva somehow didn’t take it well, which surprised me a bit as it was normal in our time for one to inherit the nickname of an older sibling who had passed through the school. 

Norman intervened, telling Kuziva to relax, as reference to his older brother was in fact a sign of affection.

I pleaded with my coach, Beven Gwamure, that when the first team goes in camp or tournaments, we should take some of the youngsters with us so that they get some experience.

I also mentioned this to our good teachers, Mr Kabodzi and Mr Chigamba, who were supported by the industrious duo of Mr Pfumayaramba and Mr Chauke (both late).

Norman was a natural leader and I believe he had a lot to achieve in his lifetime.

He never spoke ill of others, or undermine anybody.

I’m in shock. He was so young.

I thought there was still a lot of time to remind him of those leadership qualities he showed at Churchill, I mean, he was just 40! Surely there was still time to meet one day – reminiscing and laughing about it.

That I’m having to put this in an obituary of a young man hurts me terribly.

Norman has left a huge gap, he was doing an amazing job alongside Desmond Maringwa at the Footballers’ Union of Zimbabwe.

Let us all learn the good deeds that were visible in Norman’s life, and pass it on to the next generation.

May God bless you all and your brilliant work.

*About the writer: Jirvas Gwanzura regularly writes for The NewsHawks from the United Kingdom.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *