Oliver Mataba, the quiet coach who brought football to Kariba

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TARUBEREKERA MASARA 

Covid-19 pandemic related death followed hard on each other’s feet. In his home town Kwekwe and across Zimbabwe’s football family, tears were shed for the demise of industrious football coach Oliver ‘Bla Olaya’ Mataba.

The memories of his electric contributions on the field of play leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Mataba died aged 42 after succumbing to Covid-19 related complications in Kariba on Wednesday.

He was a football coach with an illustrious career ahead of him.

Born in Mbizo, Kwekwe, he cut his teeth in coaching at a tender age, his career starting at ZPC Kariba where he took reigns when the team was in unfashionable waters of Division 2 football.

He won promotion to the Division 1 league with them and subsequently helped the team into elite Premier league.

A rolling stone set on improving his knowledge of the game, Matava was a little bit of a nomad. His sojourns took him through to Lake Crocos FC, then ZPC Kariba FC and after a stint he then joined Kariba Waves, as he set his sights on an adventure to bring in another Kariba side into Zimbabwe Premier Soccer league.

He took Kariba Waves FC from Division 2 into Division 1.

Kariba Waves is wholly owned by Municipality of Kariba.

Entirely his coaching journey motif has been in and around Kariba.

Matava won a great salutation from 2014 PSL soccer star of the year Dennis Dauda, who said of Matava :“He was more than a coach. He was a loyal son of Kwekwe. He remembered home and brought his homeboys to Kariba”

Bla Olaya as Matava was affectionately called was a man who really believed in sports as a career option and made pushed players to conduct themselves professionally.

According to Charles Mabika veteran soccer commentator the death of Oliver Matava was:”Another black day for our soccer following the passing on of Kariba Waves coach and former assistant coach of ZPC Kariba, Oliver “Olaya” Mataba.

Mabika’s sentiments were also rubber stamped by the football motherboard ZIFA and players union organisation Footballers Union of Zimbabwe.

They all agreed that Zimbabwe had indeed lost a football journeyman who was still fresh and with so much to offer.

For all his sunny day, Olaya had a nightmarish moment when he lost a decisive match against Chapungu in the 2014 season when they were chasing for the top prize at Ascot Stadium Gweru.

The game was one of ZPC Kariba’s lowest moments came with Bla Olaya in charge in the absence of head coach Saul Chaminuka. It was an away game against Chapungu FC. Despite enjoying a juggernaut they bizarrely lost by 4 -1 putting a dent on a fairly tale of fighting for the championship on their maiden campaign.

Mataba played football for Zesa Munyati, Jit Bata, Tech Mate and GMB Silo in Kwekwe all Division 1 league teams.

When he called on time for his playing career he then pursued coaching.

He joined Lake Croco, a Kariba-based Division Two outfit, before moving to ZPC Kariba, which was then plying its trade in the second-tier division.

Mataba, alongside Jostein Mathutu, mentored ZPC Kariba until its promotion into the Premier Soccer League.

He is survived by 5 children.

He was buried on August 18, 2020 at family farm in Milsonia some 48km from Kwekwe town.

1978 – 2020 the end of an era.