As former Dynamos leftback Francis Madziva succinctly puts it, football is a journey and, as fate would have it, a horrific accident on his way from a pre-season friendly match in 2004 was the straw that cut short his promising career.
Report by RanganaiI Dzotizei
Now spotting a clean shave, a stark contrast from the trademark dreadlocks which distinguished him from the rest during his playing days, the former Warriors leftback was one of the country’s most exciting left- backs of his generation.
Coming from Kwekwe with the Dynamos team, the team bus hit a stationary tractor, injuring his gifted legs and subsequently closing a great chapter of his life, at a young age of 25.
With his club Dynamos turning a blind eye on him, the Premier Soccer League came to his rescue footing most of his medical bills.
However, he habours no hard feelings for Dynamos.
“I have no reason to be angry with them. Dynamos is a club and they did what they could do. The challenge is on the current leadership to remember those like us whose careers were shattered while on duty.”
Madziva horned his soccer artistry at Zengeza 4 Secondary School before joining Dynamos juniors at the age of 16. He played in the reserves the following year under David George during Dynamos’ sensational finalist finish in the African Champions League in 1998.
After taking a three-year hiatus from the game to concentrate on his studies at the then Chinhoyi Polytechnic College where he acquired a Diploma in Electrical Engineering, Madziva joined Zimoco in 1999 before spending two years at Division Two side Dimon Zimbabwe.
At the turn of the millennium, Madziva went to the Steven Kwashi coached CAPS United but only lasted three months due to CAPS’ failure to honour their contractual obligations to Dimon.
The next three years were to become the most successful years for Madziva as he played for Division One outfit Kambuzuma United before joining the then newly promoted Sporting Lions, where he became an instant hit under the tutelage of Arthur Tutani.
The following season saw him joining DeMbare.
In those two years, Madziva scooped the Player of the Year award for Sporting Lions and an Independence Trophy medal with Dynamos.
His greatest moments came while donning the Warriors jersey as he won a bronze medal at the Afro-Asia games in 2003 and got a Man of the Match award during a Cosafa Castle Cup tie against Swaziland in 2004.
“Playing for the national team is every player’s dream and that game against Swaziland is my most memorable moment because I was still new in the team,” he said.
Fate is a cruel indictment and had it not been for the injury he suffered while on club duty, Madziva had high hopes of breaking into Europe. However, it was a dream which was never to be realised.
“I would have loved to play for my favourite teams Manchester United and Barcelona if the opportunity had come.”
Football is part of the DNA of the Madziva family and besides Francis, the family has also produced three more soccer players in Jealous and Tendai, who both played for the now defunct Fire Batteries in the 90s.
Today, the football torch is being carried by Isaac, who turns out for former league champions Motor Action.