NEWS of Butler Masango’s demise in Johannesburg early Monday morning sent shockwaves in both the formal and informal soccer circles both in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Masango had been battling a heart ailment for the past few months but never gave up his passion.
Even when his health was evidently failing, he never missed his training sessions at his football academy that developed gems. Some of his products have left the country for Europe while others are dotted in the junior ranks of some top South African premier clubs such as Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
Masango was staying in the sprawling suburb of Windsor West where he was also instrumental in keeping social soccer alive. Over the years he managed to arrange social soccer matches that had the likes of former Warriors stars taking part. Players such as Harlington Shereni, Eldelbert Dinha, Charles Yohane, Gilbert Mushangazhike are among those that have taken part alongside Masango.
So generous was Masango that he would donate some soccer jerseys and boots to the less privileged but soccer loving lads. The soft-spoken Masango was always calm and would jokingly attribute it to him not taking alcohol.
“To me football development comes first. My dream is to develop the young ones, they are easy to manage and at my academy I catch them from as young as four years. I will one day want to set up a similar one in Harare,” once said Masango in an interview. Sadly, he will now not see the fruition of his labour.
Top South African female football administrator Siyabulela Loyilane was shattered.
“Rest in peace mudhara. I will always remember your contribution to my football journey,” wrote Loyilane who also runs a football academy.
Masango was a member of the trailblazing Under 23 side that took part in the 2005 All-Africa Games in Harare. It featured the likes of Alois Bunjira, Stewart Murisa, Cain and Abel Muteji among others. So brilliant was the team that it reached the final where the lost to Egypt.
In Zimbabwe he played for a number of clubs among them CAPS United, Blackpool and Rufaro Rovers. Apart from soccer his other love was reggae music and he had a collection that was an envy of many. He was a loving father of three – with the youngest being the Grade R student Gladys whom he named after his late mother. He also leaves behind his wife Nyarai Pemba.
Funeral arrangements are underway and it is highly likely that Masango will be repatriated to Zimbabwe before the end of the week