football career and revealed yesterday that the Harare giants’ inaugural Mbada Diamonds Cup final triumph over Motor Action was his last game.
Murape, full of running on a waterlogged National Sports Stadium pitch, lasted 59 minutes on Sunday in what was to be his final bow in the famous blue Dynamos’ shirt before being replaced by the speedy Martin Vengesayi.
Roderick Mutuma’s solitary strike in the 76th minute settled matters in the richest knock-out tournament on the land.
Murape also played in an influential role as Dynamos weathered the FC Platinum storm to claim their 18th league title since the club’s formation in 1963 on superior goal difference.
In fact, when Dynamos took to the battlefield against Motor Action in the Mbada Diamonds final, Murape was the only player to have grown within the Harare giants’ system in the starting line-up.
The pencil-slim former Churchill High School student, began his career as a raw teenager featuring in the Dynamos juniors and rose through the club’s ranks to become their captain in 2008.
His crowning moment as an individual came in 2007 when he was voted the Soccer Star of the Year.
The 31-year-old midfielder said although he felt he still had more years in him to continue playing, he wanted to pursue other avenues, including studying for some coaching badges.
He believes he achieved a lot in his stop-start 17-year career.
Murape quits the game after winning three league titles in 1997, 2007 and 2011 and several cups in a career in which he also worked under a number of coaches like Sunday Chidzambwa, David George, Clemens Westerhof, Clayton Munemo, Moses Chunga, Lloyd Mutasa and lately Callisto Pasuwa.
“I think in terms of playing I have achieved what I wanted to achieve in football.
“I have been at Dynamos since 1994 rising from the juniors up to the senior team and playing Champions League football and I thank God for that . . . hapana chinonzi kupera, it’s only the time that just changes.
“Hazvisi zvedu izvi ndezvashe,” Murape said.
Murape said although it had largely been a successful playing stint, his DeMbare journey also had its disappointing moments, including the serious knee injury he suffered in the early years of his career in 1998.
The affected the way he runs or walks.
He remembered his ill-timed move to Swaziland and described it as “one of my worst football decisions, which was to try and and play, in Swaziland in 2009”.
“I have been through a lot in the game, there have been some ups and downs but I must say I have really enjoyed my time.
“Of course, some people even within Dynamos may not appreciate what you have done for the club yet you have so much love for the club.
“But what I know is that ever since I was a youngster, I have grown in the system and also became committed to the Dynamos cause.
“One of the weaknesses at Dynamos is that of failing to appreciate some of the people who have served the club for long.
“At the moment it’s Gazza (Desmond Maringwa) and myself who are the longest serving players”.
Murape also explained the rationale behind his decision to sign for Northern Region Division One side Highfield United, who in turn then loaned to DeMbare for the 2011 season.
“When I joined Highfield United, it was not as if my loyalty to Dynamos had vanished but it was part of preparations for life after football and this includes taking up some football coaching badges.
“I will also sit down with some elders like our patron (Webster Shamu) as I work on the future after playing.
“It must be noted that I am not getting any younger
“I am very happy that I am leaving after helping Dynamos to win the league championship again and very excited that we actually managed a league and cup double.
“It was my wish from the start of the year to achieve the league and cup double but it has not been easy and there was a time when we seemed to have fallen out of the championship race as teams like FC Platinum, and Motor Action gave us a tough time”.
As he ventures into retirement, Murape also travelled down memory lane.
“I remember very much the first time I suffered my worst injury (knee injury) in 1998 during training at Hellenic Sports Club and we were preparing for a Champions League first round math against Telcom Wanderers of Malawi.
“Until that time my legs had a normal shape.
“Although it was a big disappointment I must also say that I owe it to Dynamos for all that I have achieved, even the popularity that I enjoy today.
“But I think it should be a two-way set up in that the club will also give something back to those who would have served it loyally.”
Murape said he enjoyed the years in which Dynamos either won the league title or reached the Champions League final and the semi-finals.
“I think 1997 when I got my first league medal remains the most memorable season but of course there are years like 1998 when we reached the Champions League final, scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Madison Trophy final which we won 1-0.
“In 2007 we also won the league and cup double and I was voted the Soccer Star of the Year and I am proud to have received that recognition.
“The following year we also did well to reach the Champions League semi-final and we were disappointed to lose to Cotonsport Garoua”.
Murape said the arrival of a number of talented young players at Dynamos like Archford Gutu, Denver Mukamba and Tawanda Muparati at the start of year also helped to push him to work harder.
“At the start of the year some people never gave me a chance of finding a place in the team following the arrival of a number of youngsters but that only pushed me to work harder and I took it as a challenge to step up my game.
“I also took it as an opportunity to help those youngsters the same way we were helped to settle down by senior players like Memory Mucherahowa and Callisto Pasuwa”.
Murape also paid special tribute to Pasuwa, whom he credits with reviving “the DeMbare spirit” and felt that the coach’s tough stance on discipline had helped reinvigorate the Glamour Boys and powered them back into championship contention.
“When Callisto arrived, we were down and we seemed to have lost our way but I am happy that he changed the youngsters’ mindset and brought back that never say die spirit which Dynamos is known for.
“Callisto is a strict disciplinarian and with him you must serve Dynamos first before you even think of trying to market yourself to South African or European clubs.
“He knows that Dynamos’ success is built on commitment and that is what I would want to see those who are coming to join the club adopting,” Murape said.
Murape said he was also happy to note that the game was now attracting substantive sponsorship deals such as the package for the Mbada Diamonds Cup in which the miners also paid the players appearance fees for each round.