Where are they now?

“Chisopo Chisopo, mai ndoda heee, (how I love him)” sing Caps United fans each time their team marched onto the field.”

Lost talent - Basil Chisopo
Lost talent – Basil Chisopo

The song was in honour of their skilful attacking link, Basil Chisopo, who took the football stage by storm in the early 90s.

The former player admits that the song had an effect on him.

“Whenever they started singing this song, I felt like I was being energised,” he told The Zimbabwean.

“Very few opposition teams stood a chance against us when I was in form and I personally demolished many of them.”

Born in Bindura 49 years ago, Chisopo was a player of rare talent. His ball control, skill and great passing put him miles ahead of his peers and, fate aside, he was clearly destined for greater heights. The team and individual accolades he scooped during his stay at Makepekepe spoke volumes of his talent.

At the age of 17, just two years after he turned professional, he was named finalist in the soccer stars of the year in1991.

“I was named Caps United’s best player in that same year, just a season after I scooped the most improved player award,” he added. “As a team we lifted many trophies, including the Chibuku Trophy, the Roseball Charity Shield and the Independence Trophy, resulting in us being named the ‘Cup Kings’ of Zimbabwe. We were just unfortunate not to clinch the league, in which we were runners-up four times.”

He had misgivings about national team selection at that time, after he was overlooked for The Warriors.

“I never donned the national team colours and was a trialist four times. The coaches seemed to have their preferred players already. I was never given a chance to prove myself, but I still think I was better than other players, who represented our national team at that time,” said the man who honed his career on the streets of Glen Norah, alongside Tobias Sibanda, Oscar Motsi, Kudzanayi Taruvinga, the late Benjamin Mpofu and Mike Madzivanyika.

“Most of the people I played with on the streets ended up playing for big teams and that is what inspired me to pursue football as a career. I got a lot of encouragement from my mother and my late friend, Benjamin Mpofu,” he added. Just when the country expected a future star out of him, Chisopo endured a career-ending knee injury in a league match against Tanganda in Harare in 1994. He was just 21.

But he still has great memories.

“Football was fun and exciting back then, even though it paid little. It was hard to imagine life outside the game, so I kept trying to come back, but the constant knocks I got on the same knee, even at training, forced me to quit and I officially did that at 24,” he said. This has not ended his love for the game, as he is now a junior coach at Wanderers Warriors Academy in Johannesburg, building what he terms a “legacy for future stars’.

“I really enjoy working with the kids. They listen and are very easy to handle and manage. I’m also improving coaching skills and qualifications. I will be heading back home sometime take to hopefully take over reigns at Caps United.”

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