By Alois Bunjira
When I was in primary and secondary school. We used to have our local schools’ football and netball leagues during the second term.
We had 11 primary schools in our Zone in Zengeza/St Mary’s. We would play each school at a neutral venue….10 matches in total.
I remember we used to start preparing for the primary schools football league towards the end of the first term, just after the athletics season finals. We would even have preseason preparations, complete with preseason friendly matches.
I remember at Zengeza 7 primary School we used to play preseason friendly matches against schools like Dudzai and Tamuka in Seke as well as Ruvheneko in Glen Norah, to prepare us for our local league.As soon as the second term started ,we would kick off the league.
The games usually spilt into the third term, when the winners would go to the regional and provincial finals, just before the exams.
This one year, at Zengeza 7 Primary School…when I was in grade 6 but already playing for the first team, I remember I chose to play for the second team because all my friends and age mates were playing for the second term.
That year we had tough competition from schools like Shingai Primary School who had Stewart Murisa and Majo Mkwava as their dangermen. Zengeza 5 Primary had players like Itai (Nzimbe) and Tendai.But our toughest opponents were Tangenhamo Primary, who had the likes of Manu,Nkulumani Nzira A lec and Tamanikwa.At Zengeza 7 Primary School I had brilliant players like Robert Zvomuya, Douglas Zvomuya, Rhameri, Lawrence Nhambirwa ,acrobatic goalkeeper Eddie etc.
As fate would have it, we won all our first 8 matches and drew one match…. while Tangenhamo won their first 9 matches. going into the last match, we were playing against the table toppers Tangenhamo,trailing by 2 points.
The match was at the neutral Mberi Primary School. I remember our Headmaster, Mr Chivaura, ordering all the students vaipinda kuseni (due to hot sitting), to go to Mberi Primary School to support us. The craziest part of that match was the PreMatch team talk by our coach Mr Muzivi.
“Vakomana…takunotamba last game ka. Tikahwinha game iri,tatotora mukombe, toenda kuDistrict finals. Tangenhamo has only two good players. VanaBullet naDurawall.
“Nkulamani Nzira is their bullet.Saka totovhara akomana.Luwe (Me) newe Loncho (Lawrence),you must make sure bullet does not shoot us. (I was playing as a CB, partnered by lawrence that time). Iwe Chomondo(Robert Zvomuya, our top striker ),ndiwe unofanira kuona kuti Durawall racho wapwanya..kkkkk.
Handed vakomana tinovhara bullet nekupwanya durawall”…kkkkkk.”
That was the craziest team talk ever .But it worked .Myself and Loncho contained Bullet.With about 5 minutes to go, with the score at 0-0, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I got the ball in our own half and decided to dribble towards goals. I dribbled past almost the entire Tangenhamo team from the back, on a mazy run that ended with me face to face with their goalkeeper.
Chomondo came on my side supporting me. I rolled a square ball past the keeper to Chomondo ,who slotted the ball home into an empty net .1-0.The entire Zengeza 7 fans went onto the pitch in jubilation.
There was a Cloud of dust all over. The match wouldn’t get restarted for almost 3 to 5 minutes as fans celebrated. We eventually won the match 1-0 and crowned champions of Zengeza/St Marys.
The Tangenhamo boys openly wept. Such was a painful defeat. Kubvutirwa nyama pamuromo. Their pain clearly demonstrated how big the match was.
It was deep.
And guess what? The craziest Statistic was that I was the top goal scorer of the league, from my center back position. Yes, I used to overlap and score goals …kkkkk
Such was the competition in primary school football back in the day. Talent was honed from primary school and we played so much football. The headmasters back then were so organised and passionate.
At the same time, we were playing for a local Hotspurs Under 12 team. The nice thing is that all those rival good players from other schools I mentioned, were my teammates at the Area Zone club Hotspurs Under 12.
The development structures for football were intact back then. No wonder such great talents were raised.
It is now different from nowadays, where all those 11 schools come together at one school and play a one day tournament to determine the winners and champions of the Zone or district. Hakuna development yakadaro…
I hope that one day we will go back to the olden ways of development, coupled with modern day methods and techniques. Schools football was lit…and competitive
So on that day…we went back to our school, with everyone running and singing “VaChivaura ,Isheee ndichangamire…VaChivaura,vanofanira kuremekedzwaa” .
It was awesome. We were heroes of our school. The next morning we were honoured at assembly ..with the famous Zengeza 7 slogan “Juche! Idea!…
Hazviuraye…zvinoton’on’ora chete ”
In my next post ,I will talk about my high school football