I always thought I was a cut above the rest – iskhokho. Many Highlanders players looked at me with a scornful eye that made me think I was a snake (inyoka – a goalkeeper who let it many goals). Mercedes Rambo Sibanda would keep shouting “u Gore wema Ndaa” (a goalkeeper from industrial areas). This was because I always arrived a little late for training from work riding a Dick-wheel bicycle. It made a spectacle but that was always life at Bosso; fun and laughter.
Bruce Grobelaar is always considered a great Bosso keeper. I understand he was in the team by his 16th Birthday. I am not sure how much role he played after 1976.
Peter Nkomo or Captain Oxo, Umangoye is the one I know. He called people around him ‘My Boss’. That name stuck with him. Only us who were that close will refer to him thus. ‘My Boss’ blossomed early and was included in a history making trip by the country to a 5-aside World Cup tournament in the Soviet Union, soon after the independence of Zimbabwe. Highlanders fans were always referring to him as the one who went to Moscow. Moscow turned to Oscow and degenerated to Oxo. The process was catalysed by a TV commercial of Captain Oxo.
Peter was a courageous goalie. He commanded his defence during the days of Alex Maseko, Douglus Mloyi and Cleopas Dlodlo with authority. He was such a shot stopper of high quality, with abilities to organise and communicate. Oxo had issues with his footwork. He was quite clumsy in trying to dribble if he had to. His weakness was mis-timing coming out of goal. I remember a particularly painful defeat by National SC of Egypt in an African Champions’ League of that year of insects. Maronga Nyangela and Shakeman Tauro made this guy look so ordinary. I have no doubt as the greatest ever though.
Joseph Tembo was nick-named Masawa. The tall goalkeeper moved from Rio Dairiboard FC and was very good with crosses. He ranks well among those who saw a lot of him in the mid 1980s.
Later on, the junior policy released Sydney Zimunya. Bruno, as Zimunya was known, had excellent moments and bad days. The unfortunate thing was that, these bad days came on the same day. He had a commanding voice at the back.
Smart ‘My Tshomie’ Moyo is another of the goalkeepers that Bosso saw. Smitsho was less dependable as Zimunya. After a breath-taking save, he would be beaten by a simple ball. He was a talkative organiser and believer in himself.
Musa Rawu Masango played well at the beginning of his career, being selected to play in the All-Africa games in Egypt, along side Nelson Bandura. These were the days I was hoping to cut into the fold. Musa had good shot stopping abilities, but he was a little quiet for a good goalkeeper. He was always at the mercy of strikers.
Mthandazo Sithole did not see much action. He was a gifted ball handler and was able to organise. He was very stylish in diving for high balls. He did not have trust of the defenders. I think that is why for a long time Bosso did not have great keepers; defenders wanted someone to match Peter Nkomo, a feat that would elude the team for a long while.
Francis Muringayi was another clumsy goalkeeper. His bother Charles, played for Chapungu, doing a great job. Fra, like Mthandazo, never cemented his first team place.
Pope Moyo is one of the most unfortunate goalkeepers. He was in a young squad assembled by Madinda, but never really came to the party. Given his plenty play time he rates very low indeed.
Pernell McKop was an intelligent goalkeeper. His huge stature was imposing and intimidating indeed. He was swift to crosses despite his size. He organised very well and felt good about himself.
Johannes ‘SamaTshu’ Tshuma rates as one of the best. He was extremely acrobatic and agile. He was a good commander and leader. His cross taking ability always gave the defence the confidence to even defend better.
Lucky Siziba was an upcoming goalkeeper who did not realise his potential at Highlanders. Mayiboka was very tall, agile and organised. His hands did not seem to handle the ball at once somehow. His concentration was not always best.
I am struggling to remember a close and dear friend that many knew as Stileto. This guy was incredible. He had one leg shorter than the other, the shorter being a little straight at the feet in a way that people imagined he was wearing a high-heeled female shoe. Hence the name, ‘Stileto’. This guy was breathtakingly agile. He kicked the ball with either foot in a way you can’t believe. His first team appearances were very limited though.
Amon Chimbalanga rates the best ever Bosso keeper to many supporters, and with good reason. This guy, not so tall was unbelievable. Highlanders tasted success after success in the days of Amon. He put everything he had into the game and was always on top of his game. There was not funny stories here and if defenders were being unscrupulous, Amon didn’t mind punching them. He always showed the anger of a chameleon.
Tapuwa Kapini is yet another who came long after the generation of Captain Oxo. He enjoyed a lot of success, coming as a youngster to join a vibrant team of Thulani Ncube, Melody Wafawanaka, Siza Khoza, Gift Thebe Lunga and Eddie Dube, coached by Rahman Gumpo. Campos was gifted in all aspects of goalkeeping. While he deputised Brito Gwere for a while, his burning desire to play could not hidden. It was a disappointment when we finally gave him the jersey. His footwork, complemented by his clown behaviour, was superb.
Say what you want. Edmore Mamkhwebu Sibanda rocked hands down. He was my kind of goalkeeper. There were games that were lost because of clown behaviour but I must confess how I just loved the crazy fella.
Who tops your list either way? What incidents gave you the shivers by our dear clowns?