The Sunday Mail
THAT bizarre incident, which left local football authorities in a quandary, is still vivid in his mind, even as he prepares to start a new life in the Zambian Super League.
It was an incident that would mark the rise of one of Zimbabwe’s biggest goalkeepers. Talbert Shumba was little known, until June 16, 2017, when something awkward happened at Ascot in Gweru.
The giant goalie, who weighed 81kg with a height of 1,82cm, crashed onto the goal post in a bid to clear the ball, forcing the furniture to collapse and the match between Chapungu and Dynamos to be abandoned in the 56th minute. DeMbare were leading 4-0 and it was a novel case that caught the Premier Soccer League off-guard.
While the PSL mused about the way forward, Shumba received a Warriors call-up for the 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup, a day after the strange incident.
And, that was to be the beginning of Shumba’s rise.
The Warriors goalie, who now weighs seven kilogrammes more, is celebrating more fortunes after featuring in Zimbabwe’s back-to-back African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Algeria.
The 30-year-old former Chapungu keeper replaced injured Elvis Chipezeze at the start of the second half, in the first leg in Algiers on November 12, before he was thrown into the deep end in the return leg in Harare on Monday.
He conceded one goal in the 1-3 loss in Algiers and two at home — including that exquisite one from Riyad Mahrez — as Zimbabwe held the African champions to a commendable 2-2 draw.
“Facing Algeria was a big moment for me,” Shumba told The Sunday Mail Sport on Thursday, a day before he left for his new base in Zambia.
He signed for giants Nkana in November and leaves Triangle without kicking a ball following the suspension of the 2020 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It (featuring against Algeria) seemed so unreal until the national anthem started playing.
“That is when I started to feel the reality of every moment that followed the entire afternoon,” said Shumba.
The burly keeper had been drafted into Zimbabwe’s squad for the 2020 African Nations Championships, which were set for April before being postponed to January 2021, due to the coronavirus.
He is no longer eligible for the CHAN tournament, which is a preserve for locally-based players, as he is now plying his trade in the Zambian Super League.
“We all start from somewhere and for me, the terrain has not been very rosy,” said Shumba.
“But, I guess I am reaping the rewards of hard work, perseverance, determination, and patience.”
Growing up in Gweru, Shumba always dreamt of playing top-flight football and he worked his way up until he was spotted by Highlanders, who drafted him into their Under-19 squad in 2008.
He had a stint with Njube Sundowns before graduating into the Highlanders first team.
Shumba played some cameo roles at FC Platinum before moving back to Gweru with Chapungu in 2016.
He signed for Triangle at the beginning of 2019, but leaves the Lowveld without playing a single game.
“I believe in God; and it’s written when the time is right, the Lord will make it happen,” said Shumba, who quoted a Bible verse, Isaiah 60 v 22, during the interview.
“When we played that friendly against Malawi, the Nkana president watched the match and immediately after the game he started calling Jimmy Dzingai (Nkana and Warriors player) about my services.
“That’s how I ended up signing for Nkana.”
However, amid this rise to stardom, one incident will remain etched in Shumba’s mind.
The goal post incident.
“The incident is still fresh in my mind,” he said.
“That day Dynamos came with a mission I tell you.
“I had gone for seven consecutive games without conceding, but in that particular game, it was like the floodgates had opened.
“I then collided with the goal post and it went down, something that had never happened in the history of our football.”
The game was abandoned on June 16, 2017 with Dynamos leading 4-0 and resumed on September 21, 2017.
It finally ended 4-0, but Shumba had already earned himself a new nickname, “Mr Goal Post!”