“Tyson” still packs a punch

Back in the day, the mere mention of the name, George Nechironga, was enough to send a chill down the spines of defenders.

George Nechironga
George Nechironga

The free-scoring striker was part of the Caps United side that beat all and sundry to become the “Cup Kings” of Zimbabwean football. Earlier, he had been a vital cog in a youthful Darryn T side that lit the local league with an exciting brand of football.

His crowning moment was in 1990, when he became joint Soccer Star of the Year with then-Highlanders talisman, Peter Ndlovu.

Nechironga, weaned by the now late Peter Nyama from the wings of amateur side, State House Tornadoes, joined caps united as a 17 year-old in 1986. He fondly remembers 1990.

“That year, I played the best football of my career, which culminated in the joint nomination with Ndlovu, after a panel of judges reached a deadlock. I had played all the games for Caps that season and made a number of appearances for the senior national team. I am proud of that achievement,” he told The Zimbabwean from his Bloemfontein base.

Also potent in the national team jersey, he scored 12 goals in 22 appearances, after making his debut in 1989.

However, his biggest break in international football came in 1988, when he was drafted into a side that famously beat Zambia to the COSAFA Under 20 Championships with him scoring the winner in the 2-1 triumph.

“That was a great team boasting the likes of Ernest Chirambadare, Agent Sawu, Silver Chigwenje, Simon Chuma, Nkululeko Dlodlo, Ian Madondo, Usman Misi, Collins Kabote, Jack Mutandagari and Godknows Chamwalila. Mick Poole and Freddy Mkwesha coached the team,” said the player who honed his skills in the dusty fields of Glen Norah.

The impressive form earned him an overseas move to Poland where he stared for Sokol Pniewy and later to South African elite club, Bloemfontein Celtic. Although he had other stints across the Limpopo at Santos, Free State Stars and African Wanderers, it as at Celtic where he made a bigger impression, culminating in him getting a role to coach the team’s juniors upon hanging up his boots about 15 years ago. A holder of the SAFA introductory courses and Level One coaching certificates, he is the technical manager of the Free State team’s Reserve and Under 21 squads.

“The role is challenging because we have to produce future stars for first team. I have groomed quite a number of players in the elite league and the first division. I have to be a role model, a teacher and a father figure to the boys.

Nechironga, who reveals he submitted his qualifications to Caps so he could be considered for the coaching role in future, harbours hopes of coaching a local side.

“I hope to improve my coaching skills but I lack sponsors to take me overseas. Football is in my blood and I wish to coach at a higher level here or Zimbabwe.”

The former striker may have reached the wrong end of 40 but says he still is potent in front of goal.

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