Like any other family, the Kabote brothers; Collins, Cosmos, Vengai and Pardon, were not spared in their childhood, as they sought to outdo each other in their pursuit to emulate their father, Edward, who was a central defender with BAT Ramblers.
Though he played in the lower leagues, Edward had instilled in his kids the love of the game that would see them compete to outdo each other.
However, of the four brothers, Collins and Cosmos later went on to ply their trade in the Premiership, playing for Blackpool and Black Rhinos respectively.
Collins, being four years older than Cosmos, was the first to break into the top flight league, with the latter following after rising through the ranks of Black Rhinos junior.
The Kabotes’ rivalry was there on display every time their clubs clashed with Black Rhinos coaches, assigning Cosmos to mark his talented brother Collins, who was playing for Blackpool.
“Battles between Blackpool and Black Rhinos were always tough for me. The coaches would task me to mark Collins because they said I knew him better. However, he was a very tricky player. I remember one game against Blackpool in 1996 at Rudhaka. I managed to contain Collins for close to 80 minutes, but he later scored after tricking me in the dying minutes and my teammates were not happy.
“I never enjoyed facing Collins because he was full of tricks. He had great pace and could also dribble with that left foot. Though I could use both feet, most of the times I came second best against him. That is why I was so happy to join him at Blackpool in 1997,” Cosmos said.
Collins concurred: “We come from a family of footballers and all of us wanted to be like our father who played for BAT Ramblers. Cosmos was a good player and every time we faced Black Rhinos, his coaches would assign him to mark me, but I had so many tricks to overcome him.”
Mixed fortunes: Cosmos ends career without silverware
Growing up with the desire to be a better player than his brother Collins, who was already turning out for Black Mambas, Cosmos joined Black Rhinos as a 16-year-old in 1986 before breaking into the senior team three years later.
“Collins inspired me and I always wanted to do better than him. I was there everytime he played for Mambas,” he said.
However, unlike Collins who won the Castle Cup with Blackpool in 1995 before going on to help his club become the first local team to reach the semis of the Africa Cup Winners Cup, Cosmos did not win any significant silverware.
“In 1990 we lost 2-1 to Dynamos in the Castle Cup final at the National Sports Stadium. We had a good team that had the likes of Stanley Ndunduma, Stix Mtizwa and Maronga Nyangela,” he said.
Cosmos played beyond club level
Cosmos was drafted into the Joe Rugg-coached Under-23 side that took part in the Fifth All-Africa Games qualifiers in Namibia.
“We qualified for the finals which were played in Egypt and lost to Nigeria for the bronze medal,” he said.
“We had good players such as Ian Matondo, Benjamin Nkonjera (late), Adam and Peter Ndlovu and Agent Sawu. Following Zimbabwe’s failure to qualify for the 1992 nations Cup, Zifa disbanded the senior team that was coached by Ben Koffie elevating the Under-23 team to play the last game against Malawi. We held the Flames in their own backyard.”
while the sun was shining for Collins, as he was battling to win the championship for Blackpool in 1995, Cosmos’ Black Rhinos was facing the chop.
“It was very painful to see the team being relegated at the end of 1995 season. I played for Rhinos in Division One for a season before joining my brother at Blackpool in 1997.
“Having played second fiddle to Collins in our previous battles, I was happy to join him at Blackpool.
“The move paid off because I bought this house (in Mbare) after joining Blackpool. Coach Nyazika turned me into a midfielder, but I could still play in every position. The following year I was recalled by Rhinos,” he said.
Cosmos, who tried a hand in coaching upon retirement from active football in 2000, however, ruled out being in the dugout again.
“I have tried a hand in coaching but will never again. Any time you can be fired. At the moment I am job-hunting, especially in the security industry,” said the retired soldier.
On the current crop of administrators, Kabote had no kind words.
“Just like the Zambians, we need people who have played soccer before to lead the associations. Without mentioning names, I do not see us going anywhere with the current crop of administrators,” he said with a chuckle.