Collin Matiza Sports Editor
THEY used to have a passionate female fan named Auntie Cookie and a number of colourful leaders who were led by the likes of Pat Travers, Rummie Mohamed, Brian Harry and Joe Pike.
They even produced a Soccer Star of the Year award winner in 1978 when an explosive striker, George “TnT” Rollo, scooped this accolade.
We are talking about Arcadia United Football Club who used to be one of the biggest football clubs in Zimbabwe, both in the post and pre-Independence era.
They also used to play in the Premier Soccer League before they were sadly relegated from the top-flight league at the end of the 1999/2000 season.
They were not operational, for almost two decades, following disagreements for the control of the club by its administrators.
But, since 2017, there has been a revival of the team, which is now playing in Division Two.
And, the recent news that UK-based striker, Macauley Bonne, wants to play a role in the possible rebirth of Arcadia United might have come as some sweet music into the ears of the football followers in this country.
Bonne is not the only person who is out to revive Arcadia United as The Herald has it on good authority that there are several people, including former Dynamos goalkeeper Laban Kandi, and a number of its former sons who are now living in the Diaspora, working behind the scenes to see that the club “rises from the dead”.
Currently there’s a committee in place, which is being run by Shaune Charters, a former Arcadia United striker, whose short career ended with an injury of a snapped archilies tendon.
He is working in conjunction with Charlie “Kabasikoro” Jones, a former Arcadia and CAPS United player; and Carlos Max, an ex-Arcadia United, CAPS United and Dynamos defender who is the most capped national team player from the Arcadia community in Harare.
“I saw the report and it was the first time we have heard about his wishes so we are still waiting to hear from him how he intends helping or assisting us,” Max said.
On the administration side, Arcadia United have Simon “McGrath” Finch, a former Arcadia Juniors and reserves player and son of former Dynamos and Arcadia United player, coach and manager, the late Jimmy “Big Daddy” Finch.
There was also a well-run juniors system for a long period under Lester Pinkerton, Regie Evans, Bridget Shirto, Kathy McKay, Lawrence Holland and Charles White that was taken over when this lot went overseas by females like Mavis Gamble (now retired) and Terezaniah Lambert.
Arcadia’s success has always been based on the Juniors system.
However, the club’s Juniors policy has always been there and it has produced a number of talents who include Rollo, Zarta Govinder, Zowie, Dorman and Allan Moodley, Lawrence Holland, Connie Whitby, Alwyn Hagen, Alister Hinze, Farid Mohamed, Desmond and Alfonso Eason, Joey Antipas, Leo Morta, Bruno Mothello and Kenny Daniels, to name but just a few.
Vince “Bunty” Lemming, whose son Miguel is a former Young Warrior based in Canada, is supportive in supplying kit and some finances.
Alvin Gough, the scorer of a brace against Dynamos in the 4-1 thrashing of DeMbare in the Castle Cup final in 1968, also wants to play a part.
Other legends like Owen “Zowie” Moodley, Nat Moore, Hedley “Toots-the touchline wizard” Leyton, who is now based in Canada, and Ronnie “ Nduna” Davis, are most likely to be involved in supporting Arcadia.
“I played in Arcadia reserves but my career was with DMB Tigers having come from Rusape United,’’ said UK-based Charlie “Maskiri” White.
‘’Many of us identified ourselves with this former great team because of a sense of belonging and imposed segregation by the then Rhodesian government.
“So those of us in the Diaspora are still linked, if not nostalgic, about the team and the community we love.
‘’Arcadia itself, because of the name, has got a massive.’’