THE rich history of Zimbabwean Football will not be complete without a proper documentation of the contributions made by various families at different levels of the game.
It would be inept, an act of negligence for any student of Zimbabwean football history not to dedicate at least a chapter to those rare football dynasties in our game in any football text. I have set myself the task of tracing the contributions of various brothers and how their talents have enriched our football experiences, indeed it would be an injustice to the game if this story was not told.
An article in The Chronicle [April 2, 2010] describes the Mhangula team of the 1970s as one of the best teams to be assembled in Zimbabwe, then Rhodesia. The formidable team had in it the Chieza brothers, the most popular being Itai, Tendai, Winston and George. They lined out along such former greats as Booker Muchena, Alex Masanjala and Lovemore ‘Mukadota’ Nyabeza.
The four brothers made the Mhangula side almost invincible and, on a personal level, Tendai was crowned Soccer star of the year in 1970 ahead of such luminaries as George ‘Mastermind’ Shaya, Moses Moyo, Peter ‘Thunderboots’ Nyama and Ernest Kamba to mention but a few. A Daily News article [December 4, 2012] confirms that the Chiezas were a football dynasty and can be rightly regarded as Zimbabwe’s first family of football.
Although the aforementioned were the most famous four, at one point this Mhangula team would field no less than six brothers, including Hector a goalkeeper and Patrick. Now, this is an amazing story. Highlights of this team include beating Dynamos 3-0 to win the Castle Cup, winning the Rosebowl Cup and the League title.
Due to financial difficulties, sponsorship of the team dried up and the era of Mhangula dominance came to end with relegation. The brothers had to seek pasture anew ending up at various clubs like Zimbabwe Saints and Ziscosteel, among others. It is a pity that at the time of writing none of the brothers were involved in football in any capacity save for Tendai who is the patron of the Ex-Footballers Association based in the UK which has, among their ranks, the likes of Francis Nechironga, Liberty Masunda and Maxwell ‘Marhino’ Dube among others.
This seems to be a curse in our football; when great footballers hang their boots, they are all but forgotten, even becoming objects of pity especially for those who fall on hard times. There is no attempt at all to bring them back into the fold and give them a role in football development while taping into their wealth of experience; the game would be much richer for this. Hector Chieza is quoted as saying “we still have a lot contribute to football, we have the love for football, but the space to express that love is tight, it is just too congested” [Daily News, December 2, 2012]. It is my hope that space opens up for these football heroes.Advertisement
The Ndlovu brothers
If the Chiezas were the first family of football, the Ndlovu brothers run them a close second. Madinda, Adam and Peter’s contribution to the Zimbabwean football story cannot be quantified. For the post-independence era, the three brothers raised the bar of football professionalism in Zimbabwe. Madinda was a flying winger for Highlanders and the Zimbabwe national team. He also played in Germany.
The late Adam ‘Adamsky’ also played for Highlanders and various clubs in Switzerland and South Africa. He contributed goals galore for the national team, forming a deadly combination with Madinda and Peter. Peter is one of the best players to emerge in post-independence Zimbabwe. He was a flying winger for Highlanders before his professional move to England. He earned over hundred caps for the national team, culminating in that great goal against South Africa and the one against Angola when he played a one-two with the ageless John Phiri – a defining moment to be cherished forever.
Fans fell in love with this team and the National Sports Stadium (NSS) became the burying ground of many sides and 60,000 fans would come expecting miracles from the boy wonder. Christened the ‘The Bulawayo Bullet’ during his playing days in England with Coventry, Birmingham, Sheffield United and Huddersfield, Peter was a nightmare for most defenders who would struggle to handle his pace and trickery.
Peter holds the record of being the first African player to play in the English Premiership and the first away player to score a hat-trick at Liverpool for 30 years. He played for 12 years in England making 338 appearances and scoring 90 goals. It also pleasing to note that Peter is still involved with football in South Africa at Mamelodi Sundowns. His contribution to the national game can also be measured by his financial bailout of the team in times of need.
At the time of his tragic death, Adam was coach of Chicken Inn, while Madinda is in Botswana with Township Rollers. Hopefuly, Peter and Madinda will pass their wisdom to the next generation of Zimbabwe football; what a blessing they have been to our football.
Again, the Marimo now Chidzambwa brothers’ contribution to Zimbabwean football have been immense. Sunday and Misheck, played in the all-conquering team of the late 70s and early 80s. They were both tough as teak defenders who made Dynamos invincible.
After suffering a horrific injury in a game against Rio Tinto, Sunday retired from the game and began coaching Dynamos. He won various league titles but the height of his achievements was to break the hoodoo of Zimbabwe never having qualified for the African Cup of Nations by leading the Warriors as national coach to Tunisia.
He also led Dynamos to the final of the African club Championship which they unfortunately lost. His coaching career has however, has been tarnished by his alleged involvement in the Asia-Gate Scandal – a scandal about football betting that has rocked the local game and his stock has not recovered since. Sunday is a good coach, rather defensive-minded and I hope he will get a second chance.
His young brother Misheck ‘Scania’, according to Brian Nkiwane, contributed immensely to local football. He was the first captain to lift a trophy of note for Zimbabwe, the CECAFA Cup, when Zimbabwe beat Kenya 2-0 at Rufaro Stadium with goals from Shackman ‘Mr Goals’ Tauro and Gift ‘ghetto’ Mpariwa. Misheck later went on to win the COSAFA Cup as coach of the national team. The two brothers’ place in history is guaranteed.
Kembo, Moses and Dixon Chunga are also brothers who graced the Zimbabwe football scene with various levels of success. Kembo was a goal poacher for Dynamos who had a knack of ghosting in to plant a header into the back of the nets. He benefitted immensely from having Moses in the same team who would provide timely crosses from the wing or provide that killer pass from midfield.
Moses had the gift of being creator-in-chief and the argument still continues that Kembo would not have become half the player he was without his brother. However, Dixon’s career did not take off as expected; perhaps it was the burden of following in the footsteps of his elder brothers that took its toll. He ended up ploughing a lone furrow in the lower leagues.
Moses was clearly the star of the cast. Known as Razorman to his legion of fans, he was simply unstoppable for Dynamos, culminating in him being crowned soccer star of the year in 1986. He later moved to Belgium with Aalst. In the national team, he had his moments but the arrival of Fabisch saw him being dropped, much to the angst of his followers who believed that he was better than Rahman Gumbo who had taken his place.
At the time of writing Bambo, as he is popularly known these days, is coach at Buffalos F C. A man who speaks as he sees it with no attempt at niceties, Moses remains one of the larger than life characters in Zimbabwe football. He also helped to nurture the talent of such young players, as Norman Maroto, Samson Choruwa and Esau Amisi during the KIDS NET project at Dynamos, a project terminated in its infancy by his unceremonious dismissal – the vision died.
And the rest
For their part, Wilfred and William Mugeyi played in the trail blazing Black Aces team which included, among others, Emmanuel ‘Shumba’ Nyahuma, Stanley ‘Jaws’ Mashezha, John Mbidzo and Percy ‘Master’ Mwase. This team was under the tutorship of Peter ‘Thunderboots’ Nyama.
The Mugeyi brothers played a central role in this team with William stopping the goals and creating them through his overlapping runs from left back, while Wilfred banged them in on the other end. The brothers led the team to a league and cup double and Wilfred was crowned Soccer Star of the year in 1992. They also played for the national team.
In the same era we had Francis and George ‘Tyson’ Nechironga who both played for Caps United. Francis was a good striker but found his chances at CAPS limited ending up at Rio Dairiboard. George made it at CAPS for a few years to the extent that he was crowned soccer star of the year in 1991. He later played in Poland and South Africa.
Apparently their father, who happened to be my music teacher at ST Peters Kubatana High School, was also was a footballer of note with the ST PAULS team of the 70s, together with Mudhara Davis Mbidzo, father of Davis, John [who played at Aces] and Farai ‘Mr Perfect’ who was a midfield dynamo at Caps; it indeed runs in the family. The senior Nechironga is Jawett.
The Muchogwe brothers, Garnet ‘Mutorashanga’, and Eddie ‘Major Murefu’, Vitalis ‘Digital’ and Claudius ‘Hokoyo’ Zviripayi, and the Zuze brothers Biggie ‘Bindura’ and Garikayi ‘Handsome Pfocho’ all played a part in making the Dynamos brand as enduring as it is today.
If we add to the mix, Stanley ‘Samora’ and Ernest Chirambadare and Tauya ‘Flying Doctor’ and Tichaona Mrewa then the story becomes even more fascinating. Tauya was indeed a medical student and later a qualified doctor during his heydays at Dynamos, the second football medical doctor after the original Doctor Rodrick Muganhiri of Black Aces and Ziscosteel.
Tauya was crowned soccer star of the year in 1995. I would also like to congratulate Biggie Zuze coach of Triangle for showing such commitment to the game which was rewarded by him winning the NET ONE WALLET TROPHY this year.
The Mushangazhike brothers, Gilbert, Alwin [goalkeeper] and Kevin also graced the football scene and deserve a mention. Their father, Arthur, was also a footballer of note with B.A.T Ramblers. I should also mention Rahman “Rush” and Nkosana “Sancho” Gumbo and the list would be incomplete without mentioning Givemore and Emmanuel ‘Shumba’ Nyahuma, the Muteji twins Cain and Abel and the Chimedza brothers Cephas and Elton Chimedza; Cephas was Soccer Star of the year in 2004.
All these brothers have made a telling contribution to the Zimbabwe football terrain. It is also my hope that this article will open up debate on the role of former players in our football so that they can make a contribution in developing the game, the potential is immense. It is also paramount for players to get their coaching badges while they are still playing. This will prepare them to continue contributing after they hang up their boots.
England had Bobby and Jack Charlton, Rio and Anton Ferdinand. Ghana has Andre and Jordan Ayew son of the legendary Abedi Pele; Ivory Coast have Kolo and Yaya Toure but Zimbabwe is unique. To have three brothers playing at the highest level in the same team is extraordinary; to have a whole family as in the case of the Chiezas can be nothing short of a miracle story worthy of celebration.