Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
SUNDAY CHIDZAMBWA says Peter Ndlovu and Memory Mucherahowa were the best captains he worked with during his lengthy, and successful, adventure as a football coach.
The 67-year-old announced his decision to step aside from the duties of head coach this week.
Yesterday, he told The Herald on Saturday the Flying Elephant, who captained the first Warriors side to qualify for the AFCON finals, was one of his two greatest captains.
Mucherahowa, who captained the Dynamos team which Chidzambwa took to the CAF Champions League final in 1998, was also a very special skipper.
When asked to name five of his best players, Chidzambwa said that would be Mission Impossible.
He said King Peter’s talent, and commitment, was unmatched and the Flying Elephant remains a class apart.
“Peter was very exemplary as a captain, in terms of discipline and commitment,’’ said Chidzambwa. “He is someone who could encourage his teammates to give their all for the national team’s cause.
“His focus was mainly on playing football, and winning for the nation. That is why you would see him coming all the way from England, under tight schedules, and still do his best to motivate and inspire his teammates.
“Sometimes, he would arrive at the airport in the morning, play in the afternoon and in the evening he would be back on the plane returning to England and two days later he is playing for his club.
‘‘That was great sacrifice.’’
The former Zimbabwe and Dynamos captain announced his retirement from the role of head coach this week but is still available to help teams that may want his services in an advisory role.
Chidzambwa holds many distinctions in his coaching career, after leading the Warriors to two AFCON finals in 2004 and 2019.
He also scored a first with Dynamos by guiding them to the 1998 Champions League final.
“I have worked with so many players across generations. Many of them were very good players, with different strengths and qualities, and it’s very difficult for me to single out anyone,’’ he said.
“Anywhere, I can pick from the 2004 squad.
‘‘The most important thing about these guys was that they were very disciplined. I never had any problems with them, even when chips were down, in terms of their incentives and remuneration.
“As you know, sponsorship is always difficult for the national team and that time it was worse. But these guys were prepared to play first and then deal with the other issues later.”
Chidzambwa said he was comfortable coming up with a long list of players who impressed him.
Some of them include Energy Murambadoro, Kaitano Tembo, Harlington Shereni, Esrom Nyandoro, Tinashe Nengomasha, Ronald Sibanda, Wilfred Mugeyi, Johannes Ngodzo, Agent Sawu, Joel Lupahla, Adam Ndlovu, Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona.
He believes Billiat and Musona are a special breed.
“Khama and Knowledge, on their day, they can destroy any team. Generally, what I like about Zimbabwe is that we play as a team,’’ he said.
‘‘I am not saying the other guys in the team did nothing but to tell you the truth, these two guys caught me by surprise when we beat DR Congo in Kinshasa during the 2019 AFCON qualifiers.
“It’s a game that no one had given us a chance but these guys defied the odds despite playing in that kind of atmosphere where the stadium was packed to capacity.
“The 2019 squad was good as well, if we did not encounter problems in Egypt, I am sure we could have gone far at the tournament.”
The veteran gaffer has coached many teams, including three across the border in South Africa, but he says his best moments came at Dynamos.
“Memory Mucherahowa, to me, was two players in one. He could win battles in the defensive link position and was very good in suppressing opponents.
“It was surprising how he could even fight and win aerial balls against tall players yet he had a small frame.
‘‘I remember one game in Congo when we played Diables Noirs.
“The hosts were getting desperate and pushing men forward and then he won possession in our own half, beat two or three players and went all the way to dribble past the goalkeeper as well and scored a goal for us against run of play.
‘‘It was sensational.
“I always think it was unfortunate we lost Memo, just before the final of the 1998 Champions League in Ivory Coast, otherwise the storyline could have been different,” said Chidzambwa.
He also spoke glowingly about the Dynamos squad of the late 1990s, and his brother Misheck, whom he partnered at the club.
Among his finest DeMbare, he mentioned Francis Shonhai, Desmond Maringwa, Vitalis Takawira, Callisto Pasuwa, Archford Chimutanda and Moses Chunga.
“Chunga was a talented player. During my time at Dynamos I never had a problem with him,’’ said Chidzambwa.
‘‘He never missed training and was always encouraging others to do well.”
Chidzambwa’s Best Warriors
Energy Murambadoro, Kaitano Tembo, Harlington Shereni, Esrom Nyandoro, Tinashe Nengomasha, Peter Ndlovu, Ronald Sibanda, Wilfred Mugeyi, Johannes Ngodzo, Agent Sawu, Joel Lupahla, Adam Ndlovu, Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona.
Chidzambwa’s Best Glamour Boys
Peter Fanuel, Moses Chunga, Francis Shonhai, Memory Mucherahowa, Desmond Maringwa, Tauya Murewa, Vitalis Takawira, Claudius Zviripayi, Misheck Chidzambwa, Kenneth Jere, Bheki Mlotshwa, Callisto Pasuwa, Lloyd Mutasa, Archford Chimutanda