By Sports Reporter
NOT even the pouring rain could dampen the spirits as former Zimbabwe cricket team captain, Tatenda Taibu, retraced his roots recently and gave back to his former primary school, Chipembere in Highfield, Harare where he donated a consignment of cricket equipment worth thousands of US dollars.
The donation was made through his recently-launched Taibu 44 Development Trust and included an assortment of cricket equipment such as bats, pads, helmets, balls, playing and raining kits for the fledgling young players including their coaches at the school.
The kit was sponsored by the Taibu 44 Development Trust and Lord’s Taverners from the UK while Simbisa Brands provided food for the kids on the day.
Chipembere Primary School, which was once a development centre for Zimbabwe cricket played a crucial role in Taibu’s development on his way to become one of the country’s most finest players of his generation.
The United Kingdom-based 36-year-old legendary wicket-keeper/batsman presented the goods to the school and took time to share his knowledge and experiences with the young players after conducting a coaching clinic.
Taibu said he was surprised by how most of the school children still remembered him even though he last played for Zimbabwe almost eight years ago.
“I had goose bumps all over my body when I arrived. It was pouring down cats and dogs and the boys came to the car to help us take out the kit from the car and they all knew me even though I retired when most of them were either not born or about three years old,” Taibu said in interview with NewZimbabwe.com in an exclusive interview.
“The joy on those innocent kids’ faces when they were receiving the kit and uniforms at the end was priceless and I pray God helps me to continue to do such heartfelt events.”
Taibu said he was motivated to give back to his former school by a burning desire to play a role in grooming future Zimbabwe national team players.
“I always think of where I came from and those kids are the future of my country. In 10 to 15 years times, those kids will be wearing the red Jersey the best I can do is to help give them the necessary equipment to use,” he said.
Taibu’s career in cricket had its humble beginnings at Chipembere High School in Highfield where he was nurtured through the ZC development programme.
He subsequently went to Churchill High School, on a ZC scholarship, and steadily campaigned for a place in the national team until he made his first-class debut at the age of 16.
Taibu made his debut in the national team at the age of 18 in 2001 and two years later he was appointed vice-captain to Heath Streak when Zimbabwe toured England.
The diminutive wicketkeeper/batsman, went on to become the youngest Test captain in history at the age of 20 following Streak’s resignation in 2004.
After representing the country in 28 Tests, 150 One-Day Internationals and 17 T20, Taibu surprisingly retired from all forms of the game at the age of 29 in 2012 to focus on church work.
Two years ago, Taibu returned to cricket as player and coach for Hightown St Mary’s CC, a club in the United Kingdom before turning out for the Sri Lankan domestic side Baduraliya CC last year.
Taibu has also previously served as convener of selection for Zimbabwe Cricket.