Zimbabwe football legend Shackman Tauro has died on Wednesday, just 11 days shy of his 50th birthday.

The former CAPS United and Zimbabwe national striker passed away at Harare‘s St Anne’s Hospital Wednesday night after a short illness.

Popularly known as “Mr Goals”, Tauro is widely regarded as one of the greatest players to have graced Zimbabwean football. Zifa chairman Wellington Nyatanga, who announced Tauro’s death on Thursday, described him as a “legend” and a “hero” of local football.

Tauro’s heyday was during the 1970s, when his extraordinary goal-scoring instincts illuminated the local soccer scene while he was turning out for CAPS Rovers, who later changed their name to CAPS United.

Tauro helped CAPS Rovers to gain promotion into the then first division in 1977, five seasons after the club’s management had spotted his potential while the team was still playing in the lower divisions.

In fact, Tauro joined CAPS in 1972 when the club was in third division and at that time he was receiving his primary school education at Rusvingo School in Harare‘s high-density suburb of Highfield.

And on his very first outing for CAPS, Tauro, whose soccer career blossomed at Zororo Youth Centre in Highfield, grabbed a hat-trick.

That was a remarkable achievement because Tauro had only turned 14 a few weeks before the match.

In fact, he was lucky to make the team on that day because one of CAPS Rovers officials had objected to his selection because of his youth.

His role in CAPS United’s success was first recognized by his becoming the Soccer Star of the Year in 1979.

After that, he was one of the first players to don the senior national team jersey soon after the attainment of Independence on April 18, 1980.

A then hard-up youngster from Highfield, Tauro was the toast of the newly-born independent State of Zimbabwe.

He hammered in two goals in Zimbabwe‘s 6-0 trouncing of Mozambique, and nodded home the winner in the four-nation Independence Tournament final against Zambia on April 21, 1980 at Rufaro.

In the match against Zambia, Tauro grabbed a moment of soccer glory for himself and the nation when he headed in Zimbabwe‘s winning goal in the final minute to send an estimated 40,000 crowd ecstatic at Rufaro.

Tauro’s most memorable footballing moment, though, came on June 2, 1977, when he banged in six goals against Kaizer Chiefs during a North Zone Select team match against the South African glamour side.

Tauro became popularly known as “Mr Goals” in 1982 after he notched 28 goals to clinch the Mr Strong Top Goalscorer of the Year award.

Tauro won numerous caps for Zimbabwe, scoring more than a dozen goals for the senior national side until a knee injury forced him to hang up his boots in 1988.

May 1996 saw Tauro moving on to the now-defunct Premiership side Arcadia United, joining them as head coach only for him to rejoin CAPS United in June 1997.

He subsequently had spells with lower division side Circle United and the women’s national team – the Mighty Warriors.

At the time of his death, Tauro was involved in running Premiership side Shooting Stars.