DYNAMOS Football Club’s new hero, Godfrey “Marubber” Mukambi, was born with a troublesome dental ailment that has seen him grow into a man missing several teeth.
“I was born with this condition, my teeth have always been a problem. The missing teeth are the first thing that people notice about me. The DeMbare supporters already have a nickname for me. They are calling me Marubber already,” Mukambi told The Sunday Mail Sport as he broke into laughter.
The defender’s moniker comes from celebrated gap-toothed comedian Charles “Marubber” Milisi, who formed a hilariously deadly combo with Freddy “Kapfupi” Manjalima.
The 26-year-old Mukambi revealed that he had to play through the pain barrier last Sunday after being thrown into the deep end by Lloyd Mutasa.
“I had a tooth removed a few days before the game against Caps United and had to take some painkillers just before the game to try and manage the pain,” he said.
Obey Mwerahari’s groin injury and Marshal Machazane’s unavailability had DeMbare in a centreback quandary.
Mutasa took the risk and gave new boy Mukambi his first start on the 40th anniversary of the Harare Derby.
And the former Tsholotsho FC player did not disappoint in front of an 18 000-strong crowd that turned out for the battle that divides the capital into blue and green.
Mutasa also complimented Lincoln Zvasiya on a day DeMbare dismantled the Green Machine thanks to Christian Joel Epoupa’s double.
The Cameroonian was the fans’ hero but it was Mukambi who was the darling of the Dynamos dressing room.
“The boys voted him joint man of the match with Epoupa after that victory over Caps,” revealed Mutasa.
Two days after the Harare Derby, Mukambi missed training as he visited the dentist.
He resumed training on Wednesday and “Marubber” says he is ready for a debut show in the Battle of Zimbabwe that pits Dynamos against Highlanders.
A week after humbling city rivals Caps United, Dynamos shift their focus to Bosso, who they host in a heavyweight Castle Lager Premier Soccer League match at Rufaro Stadium this afternoon.
With Mwerahari and Machazane resuming light training late in the week, Mutasa looks set to once again throw Mukambi into the fray.
“We face Highlanders, a different challenge altogether, and the trick is to do better than what we did against Caps United.
“Wearing that blue jersey means a lot to me and I am grateful to the coach and the fans for giving me all the support,” said the defender who joined the Glamour Boys from Tsholotsho mid-season.
When Mukambi got the call to try his luck with Dynamos early July, he did not even have bus fare for the journey from Beitbridge.
He borrowed a few dollars from a cousin, packed his bags and left his wife Precious and nine-month-old daughter Asher in the border town.
A month later, he is the toast of Zimbabwe’s biggest football club.
At Tsholotsho FC, players would sometimes get US$50 each after going for months without pay. At Dynamos he gets a fixed salary and much love from the DeMbare faithful.
“Given where I was coming from I knew that my trial stint with Dynamos would be a defining moment. I gave it my all and here I am today,” said Mukambi.
Mukambi’s first encounter with the hard to please Vietnam home stand supporters came during the Heroes Day Challenge between Dynamos and Highlanders at Rufaro.
DeMbare lost that match but Mukambi won, as the supporters showered him cash after the encounter.
“It was a special moment and I hope to continue pleasing the fans,” he said.
Mukambi was born and bred in the mining town of Kadoma and perfected after starting out by kicking a plastic ball around together with his brother Tendai, who once featured for Chicken Inn.He joined Border Strikers soon after finishing secondary school at Munyaradzi.
He spent close to seven years with Border Strikers before moving to Tsholotsho from where Dynamos snapped him.
Mukambi, who can also play at right-back and in central midfield, signed a one- year contract with DeMbare in July.
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