Where are they now?

The early retirement of former Highlanders and Lancashire Steel midfielder, Tinashe ‘Jila’ Jubane (28) remains a sad loss to the game.

I want to improve the game - Jubane.
I want to improve the game – Jubane.

Now playing social soccer during his free time, the left- footed linkman remains one of the most entertaining midfielders the PSL has seen in recent times, but the harsh economic conditions put paid to his otherwise blossoming career.

Jila made his mark with the Midlanders about five years ago. He was a regular in a team that boasted talented players like Justice Majabvi, Wellington Sibanda, Moses Mwafulirwa, Simon Chipunza, Malvern Nyakabangwe, Patrick Mandizha and Washingtoni Arubi. He recently recalled how that youthful side tormented the big guns – Dynamos and Highlanders.

“Whenever we played Bosso and Dembare, we felt the urge to embarrass them, especially in front of their own supporters and they never found it easy against us,” said the player, who won many man-of-the-match nominations.

“They usually beat us, but not easily, because we always ran rings around their players. Only poor finishing or a lapse of concentration used to rob us of the much-wanted wins, but man for man, we were always the best, especially in the midfield. I really miss those days.”

He bemoaned the economic downturn that saw him bag his boots and leave for South Africa four years ago. “I started well with Highlanders in 2003, but was later sold to a Bulawayo lower division side, Cosmos, from where I was snatched up by Lancashire, but the economic situation forced me out of the country in search of a better life.”

Best remembered for his attack-minded play, Jubane is now employed as a restaurant manager here and says this pays better than the game in Zimbabwe.

“I started off as a waiter and rose to my current position. Although I miss the game and the fame, I am very happy at my current job.”

Still fit and young, he believes that he still has what it takes to develop Zimbabwean soccer, but in a better paying environment.

“I am working on getting funds to improve football standards at junior level back at home,” said the Bulawayo-born former star.

“I have been talking to some people, especially former players and businessmen, who are willing to assist. We want to make sure that Zimbabwean soccer continues to rise. Our country has few players in Europe, and that is where I am establishing relations.”

He had no kind words for ZIFA.

“They must start conducting football development clinics to uplift standards to the international level. They have to make sure that communities have proper football

Structures for the youth. We also need serious sponsors for the game and ZIFA must look for those.” Jubane also played for SA’s Jomo Cosmos in 2004 and was mentored by countryman, Stanford Ntini at Botswana’s Orapa Wanderers in 2007.

“The situation in Botswana was as dismal as it is in Zimbabwe in terms of professionalism. It is not a place to be for a serious player.”

A product of the Peter Ndlovu youth development initiative, he won the Vodacom Championship with the national U-20 side in 2003 under Nelson Matongorere and featured for the junior national sides U-17 and U-23.

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