HARARE – Norman Maroto – the last player to reach the 20-goal mark in a season in Zimbabwe’s top-flight football league – achieved this scoring feat because he stayed true to himself, according to ex-teammate Leonard Fiyado.

Maroto died in Harare on Friday morning at the age of 40, days after he had been admitted to hospital with a severe flu.

In 2009, forward Maroto scored 22 goals for Gunners FC, then a newly-established Zimbabwean team, guiding the now defunct side to a remarkable national title for a club so small.

That rare success was in great part due to Maroto’s potency in front of goal, and since then no other player in the Zimbabwean league has scored 20 goals and more in a season.

“He was just a goal-poacher,” Fiyado, a young striker with Gunners back then, tells SportsCast.

“Norman didn’t do anything fancy. Simply because he didn’t have those kind of skills. And he knew it, and accepted it. He played to his strengths. He couldn’t dribble. But he was quick, very quick. And he was potent inside the box. He knew how to position himself, and he was a great finisher. What he couldn’t do on a football pitch didn’t bother him at all. He knew what he could do. He knew who he was, and he stuck to his strengths. He was happy with it, and coaches were happy with it. He scored lots of goals because he was real, and that’s also how he lived his life.”

Fiyado drew comparison between Maroto’s style of play and his lifestyle.

“If you have ever met a genuine person, somebody who is just himself, that was Norman Maroto,” Fiyado commented.

“He was just natural, down-to-earth, a people person. He was always smiling, making jokes, many of us fell victim to his pranks. It was good fun to be part of the same team with Norman. Above all, he respected everybody, he treated everybody the same, no matter who you are: the team bus-driver, the kit manager, the guy who cleans the changing rooms, the owner of the club.”

Maroto – a club legend at Zimbabwe’s biggest team Dynamos – regularly posted on X (formerly Twitter), often engaging in humorous interaction with users.

At the time of his death, Arsenal fan Maroto was the communications officer for the Footballers Union of Zimbabwe.


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