Where are they now? Stanley Chirambadare

“Tamirira Dynamos igowese (we are waiting for Dynamos to score),” so went a verse in Zex Manatsa’s song that came as dedication to the Harare giants when the team was flying high.

Officials do not care about players - Chirambadare.
Officials do not care about players – Chirambadare.

One of the stars of that yesteryear era was defender Stanley “Samora” Chirambadare, who played in an all-conquering team that also featured the likes of Memory Mucherahowa, Clayton Munemo, Peter Fanwell, Leo Ntawatawa, Laban Kandi, Elvis Chiweshe, Edward Katsvere, Claudius Zviripayi, Vitalis Takawira, Nyasha Kanogoiwa, Henry Chari and Francis Shonhai.

“When I was very young, my parents bought me a tennis ball that I used to play with in the yard – that is when I developed football brains,” said the former star, who later graduated to street football.

“After school, we would play on the dusty grounds we made for ourselves, with plastic balls and most of the time we would bet. That strengthened our passion and built us into the success-geared players you saw on the field of play.”

He was spotted by Dynamos scouts and courted to join the Glamour Boys in 1982 while still in high school.

“Football is an art and as an artist it is very pleasant to be paid for enjoying yourself. Imagine a club saying to you, ‘we see you enjoy playing football and keeping fit, now here is the deal, come and enjoy yourself while playing for our club and we will pay you for it in the process.’’ I really enjoyed the challenge of playing where my ability was underrated because whoever underestimated my ability made me look good,” added Samora.

“I also valued the friendship I had with my room-mate, Angirai ‘Chapo, who was at one time our captain. Everyone in the club was also my friend and this helped us get the results. Today, my friend is anyone who is victimised by the football system in the country.”

During his tenure with the Harare giants, Chirambadare won almost everything on offer on the domestic scene.

”In those days, with the success we were achieving at club level, playing for the national team seemed a disadvantage because there was not much in terms of financial reward,” added the former defender.

“I was also passionate about championing players’ rights, especially on their payments and I think that could have scared many national team selectors from thinking about me for fear I would do the same in The Warriors.

“Also, our national team games have exposed how far we are behind every football nation on the continent because we are always ill-prepared for games, exhibiting a low standard of play due to a deliberate neglect of the national junior policy by the powers that be.

“The random selection of players and the refusal to involve former players in our football system also keeps failing us. In our game against Cape Verde last year, we were greatly exposed by a nation of only 500,000, smaller than the population of Harare alone.”

Samora also had some misgivings about the game. “I still remember how we were exploited by the so-called officials, who stole from gate-takings and fattened their pockets while we the players remained poor with nothing to show for our labour,” he fumed.

“Most officials do not care about the players, who sweat it out at 3pm, when the sun is at its hottest, but only care about the money paid by supporters, which they steal. That scares away sponsors and accountability remains an issue today. Even the number of people who would have paid to watch the games remains a closely guarded secret perpetuated by sports commentators who give estimates that baffle the mind.

“One can’t help thinking they are in it together! Proper football administration died with Nelson Chirwa. In the early 1980s, Dynamos had a shop in town, a club house on Livingstone Avenue and land in Water, which would house players and build a stadium, but what all the subsequent administrators have managed to do have been to sell the properties. Dynamos do not even have a team bus now, let alone a training ground, or their own office premises. Yet the club is administered by ‘businessmen’. I wonder how their businesses thrive while the club withers.”

Chirambadare is now involved in grassroots football development in Harare, where he coaches junior teams.

Best of the Best – Carlos Max
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