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Taking a look back at the hey days of Zimbabwean football

11 Feb 2020 at 11:44hrs | Views
It was on a very beautiful Sunday afternoon and at exactly 1450hrs listening to the Chibuku Sunday Soccer on the then Radio 1 or Radio 2.  The action was fantastic.

The late Evans Mambara always started giving us the line up of the day. I would make sure that I stay close to the radio and that my PL9 battery is brand new to avoid any kind of disruption, because following each and every action on radio was so entertaining and it was like I was part and parcel of thousands of fans watching the game live at the stadium.  

This Evans Mambara was one of the best football commentator who took the country by storm. Mambara redefined radio football commentary, "Kuteerera bhora paradio" , listening to football on radio became a Sunday ritual. Evans combined well with Mabika but as an individual, he was an outstanding perform.

In Zambia our neighbouring country we had also one of the greatest soccer commentator Dennis Liwewe.

He made the game appear more exciting than it actually was on the pitch. Some of the fans enjoyed watching the game from a radio set than TV just like how a lot of people enjoyed listening to Charles Mabika , Jonathan Mutsinze and Innocent 'Choga, Gavhure with his powerful and rich Shona descriptive verbs.

We also had a very good premiership side comprising of clubs like Blue Line Aces, Darryn Tornados which was owned by the late former President Cannan Sodido Banana, Zimbabwe Saints popularly known as 'Chikwata' , Tanganda FC, Gweru 'Pisa Pisa' United , Blackpool 'Ndochi ~Warumwa Warumwa' , Arcadi United , Rio Tinto , Dairiboad FC,  Bata Power, Eagles FC etc.

Dynamos popularly known as Dembare, Caps United 'Makepekepe' , Highlanders 'Bosso' were probably the best assembled football clubs  in the 1990s.

Highlanders had exciting players like Adam Ndlovu,  Melusi Nkiwane Siza Khoza, Nqobizitha Ncube, Gift Lunga whilst Caps United had the industrious Blessing 'Yogo Yogo' Makunike, Andrew Chifamba , Brian Badza,  George Mudiwa among others.

Such great players inspired me to play the game. I would not have been a a football fan of follower were it not for the love of this beautiful game. I also loved the predatory instincts of Oliver Kateya, Edward Katsvere, Stanley 'Sinyo' Ndunduma, Max Scala Makanza , Shacky 'Mr Goals' Tauro , Edson Lusengo and Gift 'Ghetto' Mpariwa, Maronga 'The Bomber' Nyangela, Titus Majola, Tobias Mudyambanje, Sunday Chidzambwa in harness for the national team.

We had well maintained stadia like Chibuku Stadium in Chitungwiza, Gwanzura Stadium in Highfield.

You cannot talk about Zimbabwean football without mentioning goalkepoers like Japhet 'Short Cat ' Mparutsa. ' John Sibanda, Peter Nkomo, Leon Ntawatawa, Brena Msiska. These clever man jealously guarded their goals and it was not easy to put the goal at he back of the nets.

David Chikwama was also one of the greatest players ever produced in Zimbabwe. An attacking midfielder who caused all sorts of problems. These players were the best. One tenacious campaigner who I also greatly admired was Ernest " Sekuru" Makosa. He never featured for the national team  in a meaningful way but what a wonderful midfielder he was.

After recovering from a long term injury and returning to full match fitness  the previous season Eddie Katsvere had a brilliant 1985 season with numerous five star performances.

One such match was the 1985 Rothmans Shield final against Rio Dairiboard at Rufaro. Despite taking a 1-nil lead through a gem of a header by Byron Manuel Rio lost the match 3-1 but it was Katsvere who left fans spellbound. The pace, dribbling and trickery was all there not to mention the cultured left footed crosses that gave Ephert Lungu and Abraham  Mwanza a torrid afternoon.

Our stadia used to be full of soccer fans watching football from Saturday to Sunday. On Mondays The Herald Sports Pages were full of action of he previous games and all the streets were buzzing with football talk. Such was life.  If I could turn back the hands of time.


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