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Sunday Chidzambwa’s forceful statement that altered the course of football

Sunday Chidzambwa's forceful statement that altered the course of football

Sunday Chidzambwa, the legendary former Dynamos and Zimbabwe Warriors coach, has always had something unique in his arsenal: his voice!

Former Dynamos, Black Rhinos, Darryn T and Zimbabwe Warriors goalkeeper Japhet Mparutsa had this to say about that voice on his Facebook page.

“Whenever Captain Sunday spoke, we all listened!” He had an authoritative voice that commanded our undivided attention!” Mparutsa wrote.

In a conversation with another icon, Alois Bunjira, Sunday Chidzambwa, acknowledged his voice as an advantage in his football career.

“When Fabisch was looking for assistants to help him with the Dream Team project, I arrived a little late for the audition at the National Sports Stadium,” he explained.

“Fabisch however, agreed to let me do a few drills. After going through a few, he immediately called me and said, ‘I like your voice, you will be one of my assistants!”’

That was it, Chidzambwa came on board together with Roy Barreto as the nation embarked on one of the most exciting football journeys after independence!

And it was to this voice that Chidzambwa turned to as the Warriors prepared for the 2004 AFCON tournament in Tunisia.

He needed the commanding voice to convince the players that the journey ahead needed a clarity of purpose and focus on the big prize. And the big prize was the nation’s first ever qualification for the AFCON tournament.

He called the captain Peter Ndlovu and other senior players like Lloyd Chitembwe, Adam Ndlovu, Lazarus Muhoni among others and said, “Listen gentlemen, we all know about the problems at ZIFA, problems about money, bonuses, logistics when travelling but let us put that aside for now.

“Let us focus on the journey ahead. I want to make history, I am sure you also want to make history, let us stay focused and make history together!”

The players listened attentively and nodded in agreement. Well, as earlier stated by Mparutsa, “when Sunday spoke, you listened!” It was an inspired speech!

The class of 2004 listened and soon they reaped the benefits.

I attended the first match of the campaign. The confidence, perhaps generated by the Mhofu speech to the players, was transmitted to the fans.

I felt it and I am sure many fans felt it too. We knew we had a chance and the 1-0 win over Mali was a firm foundation. A foundation underpinned by faith!

The Zimbabwe Warriors went on to garner 13 points , the same number as group winners Mali. This led to an anxious wait for the nation.

Was it going to be a case of “so near and yet so far ?”But Mhofu had planted a seed of faith in that opening speech of the campaign. And when faith has been planted, faith like a mustard seed will grow. Even God will be happy and he decided to reward Chidzambwa for his faith.

On a beautiful Sunday evening, history was made! News filtered through that Sierra Leone, our direct competitor for that best runner up spot had gone to Gabon and failed!

There were outpourings of joy, impromptu parties. Fans gathered at Raylton Sports club and sang, “Mhofu makapenga, Mhofu muri vahombe!!”

And it had all begun with that speech, the speech which changed the trajectory of Zimbabwe football history!

I can only endorse “Mhofu muri vahombe!”


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