Martin Dzuwa will always be remembered by his peers and fans for his undisputed talent.
REPORT BY ALBERT MARUFU
Unfortunately, he did not scale to the expected heights, largely because of lack of resources and discipline.
The talented player, whose career ended prematurely when he was 23, still has vivid memories of his sudden tantrums that often got him into trouble with the authorities.
Losing was never an option for Dzuwa and at 17, he was handed a six-month suspension from competing in International Tennis Federation (ITF) tournaments for breaking his racket after losing a match in Bulawayo.
his consolation that same year was however winning his first major title, the Zimbabwe Open Tennis championship.
The highly temperamental athlete did not take any prisoners and at one time he was involved in a scuffle with umpire Ngoni Kufa, after a decision had gone against him.
Stories are also awash in Mufakose that he gave away his scholarship to study at Churchill Boys High School after fighting a school prefect, who wanted to prevent him from watching television.
“That is not true,”said the former dreadlocked star with a smile.
A player who never wanted to lose
It is the picture of an 11-year-old Dzuwa weeping uncontrollably after losing to Hassan Haziz in the Under-12 Mashonaland Tennis Open final at Old Hararians Sports Club in 1989 that remains engraved in the hearts of many tennis enthusiasts.
“I never wanted to lose and my coaches, Richmore Murape and Albert Nhamoyebonde, instilled that winning mentality in me.
“In the game against Hassan, I had done well, including playing the better part of the match with one shoe after the other was torn,” said the now 34-year-old.
“I was not really a bad boy, but sport is just full of emotions. Every player has a way of showing them and unfortunately I used to break the racket,” said Dzuwa, who also played soccer at Mufakose High 2.
His will to succeed saw him winning a number of tournaments that included Malawi Open, Rwanda Open, Burundi Open and Kenya Open.
Dzuwa doesn’t regret turning down scholarship
his decision to turn down a tennis scholarship to study at the University of Tennessee in the United States of America in the hope of turning professional, saw him turning to coaching at 23 in 2001.
“I do not regret whatever decision I made in life. I could either have ended up as a soccer player or at a college in the US, but chose to turn professional.
“However, we did not have the resources to travel for tournaments. I then decided to take up coaching,” he said.
The ITF level One and United States Professional Tennis Registrar coaching certificate holder then set up a base in Kenya, where his coaching prowess opened up for Peter Nyamande, Simba Muchenje and Hillary Nyakabau.
He then coached in Tanzania and Burundi and some of the players he coached in Tanzania such as Hassan Ndamishiye and Sadiki Ebrahim are now at the ITF Centre in Burundi.
The former Zimbabwe Davis Cup player has now opened up a new front and has started a tennis academy at Harare Sports Club.
With more than 16 kids, among them Kim Bhunu, Koki Hamadziripi, Farai Mahere and Zahara Finnigna, Dzuwa intends to help the kids succeed.
“I am working with Rich Murape and I am sure we will achieve our goals. It is now difficult, unlike back in the days when there were so many community centres,” said Dzuwa.
His former coach Murape concurred: “Dzuwa was a great player who unfortunately, because of lack of resources, could not turn professional. However, he is a very brilliant coach and if you go to East Africa today, they talk about him.”