Brenda Phiri Lifestyle Reporter
Zimbabwean football is interesting in all respects. Forget about the controversies, the Fifa suspensions, let alone the poor performing Zifa.
It is indeed a beautiful game and its magic is transmitted from the pitch to the terraces and to audiences around the world.Because of the diversity, it is hard to ignore the different cultures that come with the game. Who can overlook the way juju seems to be a major part of the beautiful game?
An interesting aspect of these cultural overtones are the never-been-heard-before names that just seem to pop up as matches are being played.
Zimbabwe football has its share of unique names and while we might call them bizarre, hilarious or ridiculous we have to admit that they are interesting. Interesting in that the parents of these people dared to be different and we take a look at the stories behind these names.
Yesteryear football star, Have-a-look Dube, is an example of a player whose name has made news around the world. International publications have put him on the list of football players with the funniest names in the world.
The story behind his name is equally interesting. When he was born 40 years ago, he was so cute that his mother wanted to show him off, hence the name “Have-a-look”.
“I have had countless incidents where I had to produce an identity card for people to believe that was my name. It is different but what can I do? That is my name. I have read the stories on the internet on how my name is among the funniest in the world and to some extent it is hurtful. My late mother gave me that name and she adored me to bits,” said the former Njube Sundowns player.
He also admitted that he successfully hid behind his nickname “Marabha” for years. Even some of his peers were not privy of his actual name but all hell broke loose when it started coming out in local papers.
Now exploring other avenues in his career, Have-a-look is a coach for a Beitbridge team and enjoys social soccer in his spare time.
“I am still cute to this day!” he says, tongue firmly in cheek.
Then there is Honey Chimutimunzeve. The newly signed CAPS United striker has the “sweetest” name in the domestic premiership. Every time the Green Machine is playing, he is that slim guy running across the field with the name, Honey, written at the back of his shirt.
According to the Mufakose bred player, he is fascinated by the name too!
“I am not really sure what the history was behind the name but I have a feeling my parents were madly in love that time. It is a nice name and I consider it to be just like any other. I am used to having people ask me the story behind it though,” he said.
While his name is “sweet” it is a sharp contrast from his surname, just picture having a stick in the ear. Ouch!
For another footballer, if life was about roses, in his family they were getting the thorns. Hardlife Zvirekwi’s life story has a sad beginning.
“My father gave me the name. Things were not well in our family back then. I have learnt to accept it after years in denial. I know that it was their life that was hard. Mine isn’t destined to be that way,” he said.
The 27-year old midfielder said he likes his second name, Daniel, better. He also chose a “simpler” name, “David” for his son as he did not want to “burden” him.
To some who choose to be superstitious, Hardlife has lived up to his name; he is that guy who was stranded in Nairobi after his passport mysteriously got lost while travelling to Guinea with the national team for a troubled World Cup qualifier. He never got there!
Danger Fourpence is the name of the former CAPS United defender, who is now turning out for Division One side Starbill. Named after his uncle who was also a talented football player in his days, Danger said, just like Have-a-look Dube, he has been subject to mockery in publications from around the world.
“I have asked my parents about the story behind my name and all they said was that it was my uncle’s name. I am aware of all that is said and that has been written about my name but I do not care about the jokes made about it.
“During my heyday, fans would go crazy at Rufaro,calling out my name sarcastically but that never deterred me from playing a good game,” he said.
But it certainly influenced him when it came to naming his daughter Nichole.
“I couldn’t give her a name like mine because that was a trend from back then. She is from this generation and would probably feel uncomfortable with such a name,” he said.
Then there is Bigboy Mawiwi. He is not really a giant by most standards, but his mother thought otherwise. So impressed was the mom of the player-turned-coach who, when he was born, she named Bigboy.
A self-confessed mommy’s boy, Bigboy said he has no problems whatsoever with the name.
“I weighed over 3,5kg the time I was born and my mother called me big boy. I love my name and I love my mother. I have had people laugh at me but they eventually accepted it,” he said.
He did grow into a big man, though, and only last year he was named the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League Coach of the Year following a brilliant run with Harare City. But he is now jobless however after he was sacked recently.
Another one is Dynamos skipper murape Murape whose surname sounds like a repetition of the first name. His first and last names are the same and it is all thanks to his father. Murape believes that he would not have been what he is today if he had a different name.
He said the name has come with countless blessings in his life. In fact, Murape, whose less known middle name is Charles, believes his names are so cool he actually called his fifth son Murape Murape Junior!
“I would not change it for anything in the world. I have managed to accomplish so much in my football career. I actually believe Junior is going to follow in my footsteps. He likes playing football and every time I get home from training I find him wearing my football uniforms,” said the veteran midfielder.
Ocean Mushure is clueless as to why his parents gave him that noun for a first name, but growing up in Kuwadzana he has had countless people ask him about the story behind that as well. All he knows, is that it is his name and he is not changing it anytime soon!
Some of the passionate Dynamos supporters like to translate it to its Shona equivalent and call him “Gungwa” instead, and that is cool with him.
There are also other interesting names like Method Mwanjali, who is now based in South Africa, and former teammate at CAPS United Limited Chikafa. It looks like CAPS United have had a number of players with fascinating names, remember they also had a Zambian defender called Laughter Chilembe?
Further afield in South Africa, there are also some high profile names that take the fans aback like Suprise Moriri and Naughty Mokoena.
Going beyond you will hear of Spanish-Nigerian midfielder Stephen Sunny Sunday who plays for CSKA Sofia in Bulgaria and Congolese striker Bongo Christ. There are also players of European origin whose names have given football commentators a few additional lines to talk about. There is Creedence Clearwater and Anthony Philip David Terry Frank Donald Stanley Gerry Gordon Stephen James Oatway.
“I’m named after the QPR 1972-73 promotion-winning team for those of you that have been on the moon all the time I’ve been at [Brighton],” he shoots back at critics.
Guess when it comes to names, if you have it, you gotta love it.