Re-living the 1980 Uhuru tourney

Charles Mabika On The Ball
HELLO once again, all you wonderful owners of the beautiful game! Hey, thanks so much for the unbelievable and exciting feedback regarding this new column. I was really thrilled and touched by the e-mails, text messages and phone calls.

Below are some of the e-mails you sent and don’t worry if your piece is not published, don’t give up . . . just keep on sending!

CNN, PSL 2014 yakaoma kutaura matangiro ayo! — Mangwiro Joseph.

I think Bayern and Chelsea are going to meet in the final. — Nigel Bimba.

Dear Charles: I would like to thank you for your Sunday Mail article “On The Ball’.

I really enjoyed reading it. Although the ball is round and anything can happen in football, I agree with you 100 percent that it is most likely going to be a Bayern Munich vs Atletico Madrid final. But I would have wanted Bayern Munich to win the final. This is because I seem to have a bias towards German teams, maybe because of the influence of the late Reinhard Fabisch on our Warriors.

I believe in junior policy for total football development in Zimbabwe.

I am kindly asking you to talk about the importance of junior football development in your column.

Thank you for adding more value to The Sunday Mail. — Simbarashe Dimbi.

Hi, CNN. — I applaud you for taking the offer for “On The Ball” columnist in our Sunday paper. I hope your column will be one of the fan favourites, especially to your fans like me. I learn a lot mukatanga kutaura soccer, blazo! May you please continue to give us insight into our beloved game of soccer. — Givemore Nyagano.

Thanx ,Charle, for a brand new column in the paper; you deserve it. We are destined for more exciting stuff and I look forward to knowing more about yesteryear soccer. Cheers for now. — Francis Chitsambi.

Thanx for the new weekly article, Charlie. I’m a die-hard FC Platinum supporter but not much is written about them.

I wish I could read about events at “Kugona Kunenge Kudada”. Hope you will do that, hey. I like it when you mention the likes of Chiredzi FC, Chapungu and Hwange. I have also noticed that Shabanie Mine FC and Buffaloes are often ignored yet they add flavour to the game with their competitiveness. In fact, like you Charle, I just love the so-called “small teams”! Thanx. — Munovimbanashe Mhuri

*****
Last Friday saw this year’s Independence Cup final between Dynamos and FC Platinum at the giant National Sports Stadium and FC Platinum triumphed 3-0 on penalties.

This tournament is obviously the most emotional on our soccer calendar because it evokes memories of the trials and tribulations that our gallant fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters endured in the bloody and courageous road to freedom.

I just thought I should re-live with you the first Zimbabwe Independence Cup tournament at the onset of our beloved land’s freedom march that has now lasted an illustrious 34 years.

Three teams — all erstwhile partners in Zimbabwe’s liberation war — Mozambique, Zambia and Malawi — were invited by the new government under the then Prime Minister Cde Robert Mugabe to join the host nation in a four-nation soccer extravaganza as one of the events to celebrate the birth of the newest nation in the world.

Zambia — then known as “KK XI” — clashed with the “Flames” of Malawi in one semi-final, while Mozambique’s “Mambas” took on a joyous and effervescent “Warriors” side in the other.

Zambia edged Malawi 2-1 in their match, while Zimbabwe thrashed Mozambique 6-2, with the hosts’ goals coming from the predatory sniper, Shacky “Mr Goals” Tauro (2), Onias “Travolta” Musana (2), Oliver Kateya (1) and Bethal Salis (1).

Sadly, all the above four players are late.

It was the final, between Zimbabwe and Zambia, played before a sold-out crowd of 40 000 at Rufaro on April 20, 1980, that will forever be etched in the minds of many.

Zimbabwe beat pre-tournament favourites Zambia 2-1, with the late winner coming from Tauro, as “KK XI” hotly disputed it, claiming that the gun-slinger had scored with a header from an offside position.

Zimbabwe’s other goal had been scored by David “Yogi” Mandigora.

The victorious ululation and voluminous ovation that greeted the final whistle must have been heard all over the high-density suburb of Mbare!

Here is that victorious line-up on that day, which heralded a much-loved football side that has met with mixed fortunes since that unforgettable afternoon:

Frank Mkanga (late), Graham Boyle, Oliver Kateya (late), Ephert Lungu, Sunday Marimo (now Chidzambwa, captain), David Muchineripi (late), Wonder Phiri, David Mandigora, Robert Godoka, Max Tshuma, Shacky Tauro (late), Onias Musana (late).

Two substitutes were used — Joseph Zulu and Max Tshuma — by the late head coach, John “JR” Rugg, who was assisted by Shepherd “Shepidho” Murape and the late Ashton “Papa” Nyazika.

The soccer fraternity takes a bow in memory of all those gallant players who passed on before leaving an indelible legacy for all the others who have stepped into their shoes.

*****
An unlikely side has exploded from the starting blocks to take command in the race for the “perfect moment” to be crowned Kings in the Castle Lager Premiership race.

And that team is known as “Chipangano” (Nyanja for “Agreement For A Successful Purpose”) or officially  Hwange FC.

Who would have ever thought that their first two scalps would be in the form of highly fancied Buffaloes and FC Platinum?

To be honest, I had tipped both those matches to go against coach Nation Dube’s coalminers!

And in the strongest semblance of modesty, Dube has not allowed those two famous victories to cloud his judgement on what will definitely be a roller-coaster challenge for his impressive orchestra.

Every team now wants to beat Hwange . . . there’s no doubt about it!

So to Dube and his Trojan troops, I say: “Go show everyone else that where there is an ‘Agreement For A Successful Purpose’, let no man push asunder”!

To that end, to the “Sugar Sugar Boys”  Triangle United  . . . Hokoyo, this afternoon at the Colliery!

But last week’s eventful Premiership action certainly belonged to Triangle United’s hotshot striker Lameck Nhamo for his hat-trick in a 3-1 annihilation of derby rivals Chiredzi FC at Gibbo Stadium.

*****
WHO’s faster Usain Bolt or Gareth Bale?

Now, what are you laughing at?

This hearty and jocular question has been catapulting all over the social networks worldwide after the speedy Real Madrid expensive winger scored a gem of a goal to win the 2014 Copa del Ray trophy for his side in last Wednesday night’s typical epic “El Classico” cup final in Spain.

After latching onto a lovely pass from his teammate Isco on the left wing, the Wales talisman outpaced his marker Marc Batra . . . correction . . . bolted past him towards goal before firing his effort in between Barcelona’s stopper Jose Manuel Pinto’s legs!

It’s the way that the “Los Blancos” No. 11 sprinted 60m towards Pinto’s goal at an incredible speed of approximately 27km per hour that has sent chilling waves and this rib-craking “comparison” with Jamaican sprinter Bolt, the planet’s fastest man!

I am sure Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola will try and apply all the brakes to halt Bale when the two sides clash in the first leg of the European Champions League semi-final at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.
Well, folks, that’s just about it for this week.

Join me again next week when I will be back “On the Ball.”

Remember to take care of your loved ones and each other. Till then, it’s bye bye for now!

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