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Where have all the dribbling wizards gone?

17 Feb 2021 at 05:55hrs | Views
WHERE have all the magicians who used to specialise in the fine art of dribbling gone? This was something, which kept haunting me, as I watched the CAF Confederation Cup play-off's first leg tie between FC Platinum and Senegal's ASC Jaraaf at the National Sports Stadium on Sunday. I was left wondering, what would have been the outcome, had the hosts had a fine dribbler in their ranks.

Since the advent of a national top-flight league in the country, in the early 60s, most teams have had one, or more tricky dribblers, in their line-ups.

That trend seemed to continue, until the turn of the millennium, when these artists suddenly disappeared from the domestic football scene. Do I hear someone whispering that "the modern game doesn't cater for dribblers anymore?" Nothing could be far from the truth.

For how do you explain the sublime, and individual performances, of current players like Lionel Messi of Barcelona, PSG's Neymar, Eden Hazard of Real Madrid, Wolves  Adamah Traore, Lyon's Tino Kadewere and Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace?

The few who hung around, just after the turn of the millennium, were Johannes "Signature" Ngodzo and Siza Khoza (both ex-Highlanders); Edward "Duduza" Sadomba (ex-Dynamos); Farai Vimisayi (ex-Hwange) and Denver Mukamba (Ngezi Platinum).

Chris Samakwere (Chicken Inn) and the former CAPS United duo of attacking midfielder, Wilbert Mandiopera, whose career was brutally cut short by a knee injury, and left winger Raymond Undi, were part of such players. And the list ends there.

In stark contrast, before the turn of the millennium, such players were just about everywhere. Even the Division One clubs were awash with tearaway dribblers like Silas "Majuta" Chihota, Ian "Papa" Mharapara, Leonard Sande and George "Murehwa" Tarenyika of the originl Darryn T era and Jimmy Ngalo of Tabex.

Since their formation in 1963, Dynamos have had the likes of Bernard Marriot-Lusengo, Patrick Dzvene, Denver Mahachi, Mike George, George Matyora, Ronnie "Merry-Go-Round" Mudarike, David "Driver" Madondo, George "Mastermind" Shaya, Timothy "Reeds" Johane and David "Broom Boy" George.

They also had Moses "Bambo" Chunga, Edward "Madhobha, Twinkletoes" Katsvere, Kenneth "Computer" Jere, Tauya "Flying Doctor" Murewa, Stanley "Chola" Manyati, Taurai Mangwiro, Mugove "Sugar" Munyorovi and Vitalis "Digital" Takawira.

Highlanders also produced tricky dribblers like Majuta "Jujuju" Mpofu, Collsen "Colly" Mabeza, Morgan "Dhudhudhu" Phiri, Mandla Balanda, Doubt Sithole, Mark "Lord Soames" Watson, Thulani Nxumalo, Tutani Moyo and the Ndlovu brothers trio of Madinda, Adam and Peter.

Zimbabwe Saints had Gibson Homela, Ebson "Sugar" Muguyo, Onias "Travolta" Musana, Andrew "Mai Maria" Kadengu, Douglas "Toro" Maneto, Itai Chieza, Moses "Madhala Boy" Moyo, Steve "The Dude" Kwashi, George Ayibu, Obey Sova, Aubrey Sauramba and Joseph Machingura.

Eagles had Maxmillion 'Boy' Ndlovu, what a fine dribbler this man was, such a joy to watch down the right wing. Arcadia United produced amazing artists like Tits M'godhi, Andrew "DJ" Williams, Alvin Gough, Nazareth Cardoza, Derek Petrie, Langston "Zata" Govinder, George "TNT" Rollo and Mike "Mabhurukwa" Abrahams.

Rio Tinto had the likes of Robert "Chinyahwe" Godoka, Gibson "Geza Muchina" Sibanda, Joseph "Doctor" Zulu, Joshua Phiri and Boniface Chiseko. When Black Rhinos won the Double in 1984, they were driven by the dribbling skills of Stanford "Stix" Mutizwa, Stanley "Sinyo" Ndunduma, Hamid "Muzukuru" Dhana. They also had William "Cooler" Greene, Leslie "Muchinda" Kamuyoyo and Simon Machorani, who were later joined by Konde Chiwocha, Sebastien "Sabha" Tambo and, in the next decade, Alan "Jah Bhora" Gwaze, Victor Sani, Stewart "Jomo" Kembo and Godknows "GK" Chamwalila. When CAPS United arrived on the elite scene in 1977, they were driven by two slippery wingers on both wings John Muzveruki and Isaac "Daddy" Mafaro the latter having joined them from Sables that season.

The pair of Mutizwa and Ndunduma arrived a year later and, upon their departure to Rhinos in 1983, Makepekepe looked up to the likes of Todd Chitimbe, Stanley Manyaya and Victor Murehwa.

The following two decades would produce the likes of Anyway Chamwalila, Oscar "Simbimbino" Motsi, Edson "Rusty" Lusengo, Alois "Zola" Bunjira, Stewart "Shutto" Murisa, Albert "Dhalala" Mabika, Morgan Nkathazo and Fungai Tostao Kwashi. Black Aces had Bernard "Machipisa" Dzingayi, July "Jujuju" Sharara, Charles Gwazo, brothers Bernard and George Kuwana, Wisdom Mutemajiri, Nigel Munyati, Kenneth Kwashi and Thomas Muchanyarei. They also had Moses "Gweje-Gweje" Chasweka and his younger brother Alex "Chola" Chasweka, Moses "Osso" Kalembela and Nqobizitha "Pengaudzoke" Ncube.

Shadreck "Waga Waga" Dzvairo and Francis Paketh were also fine dribblers. So, how did the nursery, which used to produce such stars, wilt?

"No coach can ever teach a player how to dribble because it's an in-born talent,'' said DeMbare legend George.

"When I started playing street football in Mbare, at the age of five, I could already sweep past almost the entire opposition by myself.

"So, perhaps we can only wonder why nature has been cruel to our local game, for the past two decades, and not produced any natural dribblers."

But, Bunjira, offered a more analytical response.

"I think the reason why we haven't produced fine dribblers, of late, can be traced back to the lack of playing street, or rural grassroots football, by these current youngsters,'' he said.
 
"When we were growing up in Chitungwiza, everyone tried to be a fine dribbler and some succeeded.

"The gradual introduction of "modern football" techniques, at local and international academies and clubs, has eroded the need for players to express themselves.

"For example, coaches like Tottenham Hotspur's and Manchester City's mentors, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola, concentrate on a wholesome team's approach, making it difficult for the dribblers to express themselves.

"That ideology has also crept into some of our local coaches.

"It's not all gloomy, for our future, as the upcoming players can still get inspiration from players like Messi, Hazard or even Riyad Mahrez, who sometimes breaks with the "Guardiola tradition" at Manchester City, to dictate the pace with his dribbling flair and conjure up some great goals for his side.''

Source - the herald
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