My dream was always to play football for a living and for my country. While growing up, from a very tender age, I always got this encouragement to take football seriously, even from strangers. I grew up conscious and aware that I had the potential. School work and career came in as an after thought. With my father absent from home for political reasons, I had to skip school for two years to do farming with my grandmother.
I attended a faith school in Zimbabwe’s Matebeleland North Province, that discouraged sports with all it’s might. During school holidays I played 2nd Division football for a Police team called Jackals. I went on to play for Bulawayo Wanderers FC, Air Zimbabwe FC, Shu-Shine FC and Highlanders FC reserves. It was hard to be established due to inconsistant training attendance because I travelled a lot as an apprentice at the Railways. I gave up on playing at all after failing to secure a proper playing contract at Bosso. I competed for Peter Nkomo’s jersey with Musa Rawu Masango, Sydney Bruno Zimunya, Smart Smisho Moyo, Francis Muringayi and Mthandazo Sithole.
It was during Reinhard Fabisch’s days (RIP) that the soccer coaches association took shape and started offering courses for coaches. Roy Barreto and Benedict Moyo conducted a beginners’ course that started at Barbourfields Stadium and ended at Raylton Recreation Club. The class included Willard Khumalo, Charles Mhlauri, Benjamin Moyo, Morgan Dube, Jairos Tapela, Sobantu, Tito Asani (RIP) Godfrey Paradza and Bongani Mafu among others.
The Coaches Association organised a few more courses in subsequent years, some of which were conducted by Clememce Westerhof of The Netherlands and Horste Kreite of Germany. By the time I left for Brazil for the International Advanced Diploma in 1999 I was at Advanced Level 4.
In Brazil, the courses were conducted in modules, each by current or former national team Specialists Professors. Pro. Carlos Alberto Parriera the formations and tactics, Prof. Julio Ceaser Leal was overall instructor specialising in game analysis, Prof Paifer Lula in technique training and one for physical conditioning and a Botafogo Goalkeeping coach was at hand. The history of the game was done by Pro. Neto Esphezim and Prof. Mario Zagalo’s 1958 World Cup Brazilian team-mate, Prof. Sebastiao Araujo who has written several coachung manuals himself. The data collector of all Brazilian national teams coaches who had done this job since 1979, came in with what information to get and how during game analysis.
The whole concept here was to open the coaches mind, to think in other terms, and once this achieved, you were prepared to go out and do coaching your own style. We had Fluminense and Botafogo Academy youths to coach and we did game analysis at Maracana, Vasco da Gama and Flamengo. We watched games (which means assignments) twice a week, usually kicking off at 21:00 and classes starting 07:00 the next morning.
By the grace of God, myself and a Trinidadian, Richard Hoods amonst eighteen nationalities, were awarded Scholarships for follow up courses on Tactics, but the sponsor pulled out. This was the school that Sunday Marimo, Barry Daka and Nelson Matongorere went to.
Besides Highlanders FC and Railstars FC, I formed and coached International Juveniles in the 4th Division and then Keut Football Academy. This was both a school of excellence for kids based at ZITF and a 2nd Division team running seperately. KFA became a phenomenon in its ranks by the quality brand football we displayed. We ended the season second to Olivine FC after amasing over a 96 points, scoring over a 103 goals, losing games to the bottom most teams, Scandia and Qualitex.
Many people will remember Farai Zidane Mujokoro, who I think should have gone to play overseas, or at least the national team. Before that, I coached a Pumula based Peter Changunda’s 2nd Division team and lost my job when we were gunning for the championship, because my team “scored through wing backs”. That team produced Godfrey Dondo and Charles Jere (RIP) who had a twin brother, Sam, who played a fantastic holding role.
The national association gave me a responsibilty to assemble and coach developmental regional under 17 players. I had to co-ordinate with coaches from other regions, getting feedback through assessment reports.
I started to be involved in being an Assistant Instructor for Level 1 courses until I was full-time instructor and went on to instruct upto Level 2. I am honoured to have been an Instructor to Rahman Gumbo, Enerst Sibanda, Emmert Ndlovu, Clement Balanda, Isaac Mbedzi of First Mobile Sports Academy, Nqobizitha Humptey Maenzanise, Brian Moyo, Siphatho Ncube, Netsai Super Moyo among many other notabeable coaches. In 2001, I went to do Instructorship for a FIFA/International Olympic Committee Solidarity Course for Junior and Youth Coaches. This class included the likes of Geshon Ntini.
During this period I served the Soccer Coaches Association, first as Treasurer, from 1996 to 1998, the Secretary until 2000. I worked with the industrious Bongani Mafu who went on to coach Zimbabwe Saints, Riot Ncube (RIP), Barry Daka, Andrew Kadengu and Gibson Homela for the betterment of coaches association provincially. At national level, I contributed to the executive led by Mr Bob Lines, Benedict Moyo, Matongorere, Jimmy Malomo and Steven Kwashi. We interacted well with Ephert Lungu and Misheck Marimo.
The future is a closed book for me. I am currently enjoying life in a different environment altogether. There were moments I could not watch a football match since those days, because it was so boring. I became a lover of cricket, rugby and golf. In 2008 I was invited to a school by my childern to coach their teams because every year, everybody just beats them. They won the Championship that year. The local varsity asked me to volunteer. I was helping them last year and for the first time, they got to the finals of 5-aside and normal games in regional competitions, as well as AngloCoal copmetition. Am I on a comeback? Time will tell.