“Whatever I say, should be written about; what I don’t want written, I don’t say,” declares Moses “Bambo” Chunga.
The celebrated football legend, Chunga is among the country’s top personalities but has remained an enigma as regards to his personal life.
Like all intensely private people, Chunga keeps work and family rigidly apart.
When he talks football, he is carefree and fires from the hip. Mention his family and the transformation is instant.
Not that his social life is in the morgue. In fact, he loves to mix and mingle, his familiar gap-toothed smile and boisterous opinions dominating conversations.
All through it, he reveals little of his personal life.
For someone who once won a Parent of the Year Award when his kids where still at Selborne Routledge Primary School, surely more should be known about how Bambo lives his life.
The little that the public knows about the Razorman’s (as Chunga was affectionately known during his playing days) family has been gathered from his close confidantes — but even they appear to have been sworn to secrecy.
And this is exactly as Bambo would have it.
Efforts by this publication last week to meet the footballer’s family and capture his life off the pitch met little success.
A meeting between this writer and the firebrand coach on the outskirts of the capital led to Bambo promising to get pictures of his wife and kids for publication — but he remained adamant that there would be no direct access to them.
And then he changed his mind and said the pictures would not be coming.
“No one has written about my family and I don’t want anyone to. The public knows Bambo the footballer and coach hence I’m the one that you should write about. For all these years they have never been in the media,” he says.
Indications are that he has two sons, Moses Jnr and Madalitso, and a daughter Limbikani. Moses Jnr is from a first marriage while the other two are with his second wife, a teacher.
Chunga has two brothers and a sister, and he lives with a nephew at his Waterfalls home.
The veteran footballer and coach has a lot of admirers, and it is telling that all of them know him for his football activities and not his personal life.
Very opinionated, he is viewed variantly as confident and arrogant.
Bambo chuckles: “Some people think I’m arrogant but that is not the case. I’m as humble as one can be. People should not be offended when I say, hallo supporter! It is just like them saying hallo coach to me or hallo journalist to you (sic). We will just be greeting one another with our titles and that doesn’t qualify one to be called arrogant.”
A middle-aged woman who interrupts our interview as she sells her wares provides an opportunity to view the complexity of this enigmatic character.
“So you sell your stuff everyday and don’t even bother disturbing busy people?” he quizzes her while looking her straight in the eye.
The lady is visibly uneasy and appears ready to flee when she sees Bambo is about to speak again.
“No problem, carry on,” he says next, immediately easing the tension with his well-known smile.
Bambo carries on about his “humility”.
“I did not change my way of life and I have remained the same, like I was when I was still young. This is why if you say I’m arrogant I will just agree. But what I want to make clear is that some of the things said about me are wrong.”
Speaking to Bambo is like talking to a football encyclopaedia. Every conversation quickly steers back to soccer matters and he helpfully informs this writer that he cannot have a conversation unless it is football-related.
It does emerge though that he has a strong affection for children and young talent.
“I will put my head on the block for the kids because I know they are the future. But it bothers me that most of the things that I do for them are questioned and I’m made to apologise. When I set up the Dynamos ‘Kidznet’, I was labeled crazy but the same concept by Barcelona years later was praised by the very same people that criticised me.
“The problem is we are divided from reality. If you multiply ignorance and division from reality the result is not any good.”
We try and get the conversation away from football, but inevitably it quickly returns to the world’s most beautiful game.
Bambo distances himself from a joke doing rounds on social media in which he is said to have equated Manchester United’s decision to change its coach to a situation where the owner of a ramshackle bus thinks hiring a new driver will make the vehicle perform as it is new.
“I don’t Tweet. I know it is an honour for people to use my name in their games or whatever but they should know it can come with consequences,” he says whimsically. “Don’t forget I’m that guy who dribbled Duncan Ericsson akataura Shona: hanzi ‘maka Moze’.”
Chunga was born on October 17, 1965 to parents of Malawian descent. He quit school at the age of 14 after having a dispute with his teacher and went on to join Dynamos.
Apart from the Harare giants, he has also played as a midfielder for Belgian club Eendract Aalst and the Zimbabwe national football team.
Away from football, Chunga runs various small business ventures with his fish project been among the better known ones.
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