By Clemence Marijeni in LONDON
FORMER Zimbabwe soccer stars based in the United Kingdom have formed a union with the long term objective of assisting to develop the game back home.
The union, named Zimbabwe Stars, is a collection of former players from different generations who played for various teams in the country’s top-flight league.
While the long-term aim is to help in developing the game, the immediate endeavour is to help each other during difficult times in the Diaspora. The former stars met for the ground-breaking meeting in Coventry at weekend and the gathering was indeed a spectacular scene of the “golden oldies’ met in remarkable camaraderie.
One individual at the meeting who could pass for the “priceless classic” was 1970 Soccer Star of the Year , Tendai Chieza, who became the second player after George Shaya to win the award which was inaugurated in 1969. The former Mangula forward was part of the Chieza brothers who are probably Zimbabwe’s most successful soccer playing siblings after the Ndlovu brothers (Madinda, Adam and Peter).
Another golden oldie was former BAT Ramblers forward Akshape Chimwayi who left the gathering in stitches when he reminded former Black Aces’ forward Francis Nechironga, how he used to “roast him” with fancy footwork every time their teams met. An interim committee was chosen at the meeting and former Zimbabwe Saints and Warriors goalkeeper Muzondiwa Mugadza was elected to lead the union.
Other committee members are former Blackpool and Kaizer Chiefs striker Liberty Masunda, ex-Dynamos midfielder Ernest Mutano, former Chapungu and Viktoria Zizkov (Czech Republic) forward Kenny Chihuri and Nechironga.
“The whole idea of this group is to be there for each other in times of need as you are aware that we are far from home. We also want to have fun again as former players,” said Mugadza.
“The group was initially called Zim Former Stars but Hubert Munjanja (former Dynamos and Blackpool) said we were still stars in our own right and so we decided to call it Zimbabwe Stars.
“The intention of assisting in the development of the game back home was mooted but we agreed on sorting ourselves first for now and we made that one of our long-term objectives.
“There was discussion of pooling resources together so we can help Zifa with equipment such as balls and kit but this is something that we intend to deal with when the time comes,” he said.
Some of the former players who attended the meeting included Dynamos legend and 1994 Soccer Star of the Year Memory Mucherahowa, 2001 Soccer Star of the Year Maxwell “MaRhino” Dube, former Dynamos defender Chamu Musanhu, former CAPS United duo Brian Badza and Frank Nyamukuta, and Lloyd Jowa , Matambanashe Sibanda and Eugenne Langa who turned out for Zimbabwe Saints.