Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
AWAY from the madding crowds at such venues like Rufaro, Gwanzura, Barbourfields and Maglas, Zimbabwe legend Misheck Chidzambwa has retreated to the quieter environment of the Harare Professionals Soccer League where he has teamed up with former Warriors manager Sharif Mussa to develop the game.
Misheck might have had to live in the shadows of his more illustrious elder brother Sunday Chidzambwa, but he has his own records to speak of with the national team and remains a Dynamos and Zimbabwe legend.
The tall gaffer was the first captain to win silverware with the Warriors when he lifted the CECAFA Cup at Rufaro in 1985 while playing for DeMbare with whom he won several league and cup titles as a tough tackling centre back.
In his coaching career, Misheck also became the first coach to guide Zimbabwe to COSAFA Castle Cup success in 2000 when his side which featured the likes of Benjani Mwaruwari, William Mugeyi, Luke Petros Jukulile, Callisto Pasuwa, Robson Chisango and Kaitano Tembo, secured the title with a comprehensive 6-1 aggregate victory over Lesotho.
Sunday was to win the COSAFA Cup in 2003, 2009 and 2017 with Charles Mhlauri’s success in the tournament in 2005 being sandwiched by the Chidzambwa brothers’ achievements.
Misheck has also coached Tanganda, Chapungu and Blue Ribbon.
But after taking a sabbatical from the game, the seasoned coach resurfaced not in the trenches of the Premiership or the Division One league but at Universals, who play in the HPSL that is a blend of promising players and those that have retired from the top-flight.
Mussa, a long serving Warriors manager, who has had the privilege of being to all the three African Cup of Nations tournaments which the Warriors partook including as team liaison officer on their maiden appearance in Tunisia in 2004, is also a part bit player in the Universals.
Universals who are based in Belvedere are a multi-racial squad, which also features Sharif’s son Salmaan Sharif Mussa.
Salmaan, a 20 year –old forward is a key member of the attack in a side that includes three of his colleagues Muhammed Issa, a midfielder, defender Afzal Patel, and Nazeer Esat.
But it is the presence of Chidzambwa with his vast experience in the game that seems to have made a huge impact on Universals who in their debut season in the HPSL finished second behind Obama Boys. That Chidzambwa joined them at the half-way stage but managed to steer them to a runners-up spot has left everyone at Universals believing that 2018 could be the year that they will land the title on their second attempt.
Their runners-up spot also meant that Universals made it to the end of season top-eight tournament at Greendale Sports Club that was however, won by Protector Rangers who hammered Bak Logistics 3-0. But for Chidzambwa, it is the continuing efforts to develop football even in a lower league that he derives satisfaction from, arguing that “once in football always in football.
Misheck was also one of the brains behind the concept of having Warriors legends coming together to play against other legends with the proceeds from some ventures being channelled towards helping some former footballers in times of need. “I took over as coach when they had played half the game in June but I must say there is a lot of potential youngsters in this team who just need time and care to be nurtured so that they grow.
“A lot of them can play in the PSL with time and we have to patiently build them,’’ Chidzambwa said.
Chidzambwa also revealed that he was enjoying life away from the pressure cooker touchline of the Premiership.
Chidzambwa also paid tribute to Mussa for his passion and commitment to the game and described him as a rare breed of national team managers.
“Sharif also plays in the team . . . he loves his football, he has such a strong passion for football and is rare type of team player . . . I feel that if we had more people like him in our national football structures we could take our football to an even higher level.
“Our football is still crying out for people like Sharif who are so passionate and committed to the game and willing to make some sacrifices for the game without any string attached,’’ Chidzambwa said.
Mussa, an affable manager who endeared himself with different generations of Warriors from the crop that were under captaincy of Peter Ndlovu to that of Willard Katsande, resigned from the national team set up after the 2017 Nations Cup campaign in Gabon.
There have, however been indications that the ZIFA leadership could make some overtures to give him a role in the game in which his vast experience could yet come in handy in Zimbabwe’s quest for a place at the 2019 Nations Cup in Cameroon.
Warriors gaffer Sunday Chidzambwa has also insisted that every Zimbabwean with valuable input ought to contribute to the country’s bid for a smash and grab act on one of the two Group C slots in their Nations qualifying campaign.
The Warriors are in the same group with Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo and Congo Brazzaville which Chidzambwa has described as tough.
Congo are their next opponents away in Brazzaville when the qualifiers resume in September next year. But for now Sharif and Misheck have to contend with helping the game from the less demanding HPSL whose 2017 champions were Obama Boys, a side that had among its stars former Lengthens man Artwell Nyamiwa, Edie Nyika, and Admire Dzukamanja who played Champions League football with Dynamos in 2008.