What Happened To The Only Zimbabwean Player In The History Of The NFL?

History was made in the American National Football League (NFL) as Stansly Maponga became the first citizen of Zimbabwe to actually play in the league.


The Republic of Zimbabwe, which was formerly known as South Rhodesia, is among the smallest Southern African countries with a very high rate of literacy, topping other countries such as Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa.

Taking a look at an average Zimbabwean, an average Zimbabwean would prefer academics and various other promising professional careers rather than having to venture into sports.

However, one special and unique boy named Stansly Maponga was able to break that barrier by choosing to follow the professional aspect of an average person, but he decided to venture into the sporting lifestyle. Maponga, who was born on March 5th, 1991 in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.

At the tender age of 9, Maponga migrated to the United States of America, where he attended Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas, and was also admitted to Texas Christian University, where he started playing American football for Texas Christian University. Now let’s take a look at his professional career after his decision to start playing American football.


Stansly Maponga started his American football career at an early stage. With his height of about 188 cm and a weight of close to 255 lbs, he was considered to be quite fit for the post of defensive lineman for his current team, the Ottawa Redblacks’ of the Canadian Football League (CFL).

A Brief Look at Stansly Maponga’s Professional Career

  • Atlanta Falcon
  • New York Giants
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Denver Broncos
  • Seattle Dragons
  • Ottawa Redblacks

Having a thorough inspection of these, Stansly Maponga has really played for various American football teams in the National Football League, but now is playing in the Canadian Football League for the Ottawa Redblacks.

●      Atlanta Falcons

Checking through his professional career, Stansly Maponga was drafted in the 5th round of the NFL in the year 2013 by the Atlanta Falcons. He was drafted as the 153rd overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons. He was later waived by the Atlanta Falcons on September 5, 2015 in the final cuts before the beginning of the normal season.

Following his gaming history, he has been able to play a total of 24 games in two gaming seasons, with 2 fumble recoveries, totaling 7 tackles, and a sack. Also, he was signed to the Atlanta Falcons’ practice team on the 7th of September, 2015. He was able to play for the Atlanta Falcons from 2013 – 2015.

●      Dallas Cowboys

Stansly Maponga was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad on November 21, 2017, from which he was later released to continue his career as an American footballer in the year 2017. One of the best NFL seasons for Stansly Maponga was in the year 2014, in which he was able to register 2 fumble recoveries and a sack due to his being a rotational player.

As a player, he was able to record 113 total tackles, one fumble recovery, two sacks, and two forced fumbles over the course of three seasons.

●      New York Giants

After playing well for the Atlanta Falcons, the New York Giants went ahead and signed Stansly Maponga off the Atlanta Falcons’ practice squad on the 12th of December, 2015. Eleven months later, he was released by the New York Giants, which was on September 3, 2016.

The very next day, he was signed to the New York Giants practice squad to get a better chance at playing the game that he has a passion for. Stansly Maponga, at some point in time, ended up signing a reserved contract with the New York Giants on the 9th of January, 2017. On September 2nd, 2017, he was waived by the team, having played for a period of one year.

●      Denver Broncos

The Zimbabwean player was signed to the Denver Broncos’ practice on November 21, 2017. He signed as a reserve or future squad player in earlier January 2018, but unfortunately in August of the same year his contract was terminated.

●      Seattle Dragons

After the XFL took off in 2020, the competitors of the NFL started poaching current and former football athletes. Stansly was therefore invited to play for the newly created Seattle Dragons in 2019.

In case you are unaware, XFL is classified as a professional American football league and consists of eight teams that are then divided between two parts: the east and the west division, where the season runs straight from February to April.

With this division, each team is required to play a ten-game regular season and then four of them would advance to the playoffs in order to crown a season champion. However, Maponga’s contract was terminated on the 10th of April, 2020 as a result of the league operation being suspended due to COVID-19.

●      Ottawa Redblacks

On March 9th, 2021, Stansly Maponga signed with the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League, where he is still playing at the moment

Stansly Maponga Net Worth

There has been a significant growth in American based football players between 2019 and 2020. So, we are sure a lot of people are quite curious to know how much he is worth at the age of 29.

Stansly Maponga’s source of income is nothing more than being a very successful player from Zimbabwe. His net worth, as of 2020, is known to be around $1 to $5 million.

If his football career never really took the heights we expected from him, Stansly still made a memorable career and is a part of history of Zimbabwe, after being the first player from the country drafted into NFL ranks.


Considering the relative undersize weight of this sport in Zimbabwe, Stansly still had a successful career. His path can be inspirational for many Zimbabwean kids to thrive in this and other sports and apply for international scholarships in order to continue their athletic career.

We hope Zimbabwe can produce more quality athletes like Stansly Maponga and have more stars in NFL other major international football leagues. Check NFL betting guide by TwinSpires in case you want to learn more about the American football league.

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