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Chitungwiza Municipality
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.I’m probably one of the most nomadic soccer players to emerge from Zimbabwe, but this being an introductory piece, I will first walk you through the early years of my sporting life before I get you to where I am, currently.I come from a family of six boys and a girl, and I am the first born. My now late mother, Gladys, was also a sportswoman in her own right and represented the country as a netballer when she featured in the national team (May her dear soul rest in eternal peace).The first position I found myself at was between the posts (goalkeeping) in the early years when I was attending Zengeza 7 and Shingai Primary Schools and by the time I was in Grade 5, I had already graduated into the senior side.

Meanwhile, I was also turning out for a team called Rough Riders (U8 and U10) where they would sometimes use me as a defensive midfielder.My second port of call was Hotspurs, then coached by a passionate old man by the name of Mdhara Ncube who was a Municipal employee. I played alongside Innocent Mutasa (young brother to Lloyd) and Alois Bunjira in that team.Then, like lightning in summer, came a Zengeza 3 based outfit which was called Marisa, bankrolled by Marisa Fashions and had one gritty gaffer by the name of Rickshon Makamba. By that time I was a Form 2 student at Zengeza High 2. I single out Stephen Nyamayaro as one of the best players in that project.A year later I joined (Alois) Bunjira, Gift Muzadzi, Lloyd Chitembwe and Norman Mapeza at Cone Textiles whose training ground was in Unit M. The late Never Gombera was our coach.Cone Textiles was a sister club to Darryn T (coached by Wieslaw Grabowski) and with about seven games left in the Premier Soccer League, they (DT) were staring relegation in the eye. “Kuvha” the coach took a gamble, fired most of the senior players in the Darryn T team and replaced them with us regardless of the fact that we still smelled milk on the nose (very young). We survived and even went on to win the Castle Cup in 1992 after beating one of the most famous Caps United squads that had the likes of Joel “Jubilee” Shambo, Silver Chigwenje, Brenna Msiska and Carlos Max among others. We beat them 4-0 to lift the prestigious trophy then sponsored by Delta Beverages though their Castle brand and that was the beginning of big things that were to come.That achievement earned me my first air ticket to Poland where I was attached to Miliada, but my marriage with the Polish did not last long as I quickly returned home to join Black Pool (nicknamed Ndochi after the popular Papa Joze rhumba

tune). That lineup that had the likes of Collins Kabote, Masimba Dinyero, Joseph Dube, George Mbwando and Bunjira.

We went as far as the semi-finals of the Africa Cup Winners Cup.1996 saw me joining Caps United where we walloped and shelved all the domestic silverware except the Castle Cup, confirming ourselves as real “Cup Kings”. Farai Mbidzo, Joe Mugabe, Cheche Billiart, Felix Antonio, Morgan Nkhatazo, Mpumelelo Dzowa and Baba VaGari (Msiska) made part of that team.In typical Fulani style, I packed my bags for South Africa in 1997 to join Amazula and then Ajax Cape Town. A threatening knee injury laid me off the pitch for two years and I had to go under the knife two times. Having decided to recuperate at home, ACT loaned me to Dynamos (2001) and then to Highlanders (2002) before I crossed the Limpopo again to settle at Wits.Never a subscriber of the school of thought that a rolling stone gathers no moss, I soon found myself in Cyprus where I had a four-month stint before heading back to Mzansi to end my playing career (at City Pillars).North or West, home is best and home is right here in Chitungwiza. It is always a great pleasure to be back where it all started – the roots.

I have now directed focus on enhancing my football CV by assuming coaching roles. Last year I was a player/coach at Lake Harvest out in Kariba and now I have just been appointed assistant coach to Darlington Dhlodhlo at Caps Gunners, a development side of Caps Utd FC. I am a holder of a CAF C certificate, will be enrolling for the CAF B class soon and my aim is to have attained the FIFA Badge within the next three years.In the EPL I am a staunch Man United supporter (Red Devil) and at home I find my heart torn into three: Caps Utd, Highlanders and Dynamos simply because I shed some sweat for all of them. As a young man growing up, however, I always had a soft spot for DeMbare. My greatest source of inspiration (idol) was the late Kina Abel who also lived a stone’s throw away from our home. It filled us with great pride as kids to hear people likening him to Moses “Bambo” Chunga during the time he was playing for Arcadia Utd and we all wished we could be like him. Remember those years when we would tuck ourselves into the shoes of our role models? When I had the ball I would brag, “Ndini Kina.”I am a father of three, two daughters (Natalie, 21 and Nicole, 17) and a son, Stewart Jnr (12). My pastime hobbies are over-dosages of soccer on TV, tennis and playing a little pool. Here are some of the footballers from Chitungwiza that I can name from the tips of my fingers that I have played soccer with over the past three decades: Alois “Jibha” and Allan Godzi; Edelbert Dinha; Wellington Shangiwa; Raphael and Ralph Kawondera; Wonder Timoti; Albert Manyevere; Misheck Juma; Steven Nyamayaro; Gift Mudangwe; Lovendar and Zvidzai Kunaka; Foster Ngare; Callisto Pasuwa; Lloyd Chitembwe; Norman Mapeza; Pelie Tsuro; Leonard and Cleopas Makankula; Gabriel Rinodamoto; Francis Lima; Darlington and Fungai Mukwava; Moses Chaduka; Godwin “Stone” Banda… and who can forget the likes of “Jembe”, “Chimbambaira” and many others fallen and still alive. Oops Chitungwiza sure has got talent!Back in the day we had community clubs of the likes of Moonrackers, Jumbo, Rough Riders, KTS, Red Arrows, Mandimika, Black Santos, Dhewa, Marisa, Hotspurs, ZRP ST Mary’s and Zimbabwe United (Hauzoda). In place was a vibrant soccer league from the juniors to Div 1 and in the years that progressed, Chitungwiza produced four clubs that were in the PSL (Fire Batteries, Hackney, Darryn T and Buymore)

And to think today we don’t have a team from Chi-town that’s in the PSL or D1? Harare, Bulawayo, Tsholotsho, Hwange, Kariba, Mutare, Beitbridge, Zvishavane all have premier soccer matches coming to their home towns. I guess it is time we went back to the drawing board to see where we missed the train. I am optimistic that someday soon, we will revert to the glory of yesteryear.

Of the lovely game with Shutto

WELCOME you fellow Chi-towners to this, my first contribution to what will be a regular column in a project that has been so long in coming, but as they say, “it is better late than never.”In succeeding editions I shall be reviewing and criticizing various aspects of the beautiful game of soccer, obviously with a bias towards what is happening within our own backyard.Most people know me as “Shutto”, born and bred in St Mary’s.