ZIMBABWE Power Company (ZPC) Kariba Football Club (Gwenya Rekuchamhembe) stormed into the topflight league after emerging as champions in the Eastern Region Division One league last year.
By Brian Nkiwane
Like any other newcomer in the league, a few gave them a chance of surviving in the Premier Soccer League.
Not even in the wildest of dreams of neutrals did it ever ring that they could end up challenging for the top accolade in their maiden year in the premiership.
Having played 12 games in the country’s most competitive league so far, the club proved many prophets of doom wrong as they have established themselves as the team to beat.
Apart from vast experience which they have in the form of former premiership players that include Norman Togara, Tawanda Munyanduri, David Radiyoni, Moses Makanje, Limited Chikafa and a host of other names, there is one man who has been a rock of success for the Kariba-based outfit, their goalkeeper Tendai (Fish) Hove.
The 26-year-old has been a revelation at the club, having set himself a stunning record in the opening 12 games so far, helping the club to maintain their unbeaten run with some suicidal saves.
The gangling goal minder has managed to keep seven clean sheets from the first day of their life in the premiership, conceding only six goals.
“My coaches have been my pillars of strength. I have been working hard since day one in the world of Division One with a view of becoming one of the big names in Zimbabwean football,” said the goalkeeper.
In shipping a few goals at this stage of the season, Hove joins former Dynamos shot-stopper George Chigova who recently left the country to join South Africa’s SuperSport United.
Chigova, who took part in almost every DeMbare league match, conceded six goals — the same number that Hove has concede so far.
“I conceded goals against Highlanders in a 1-1 draw, CAPS United (1), Chiredzi FC (1), Shabanie Mine (1) and the only time that I conceded more than one goal was against How Mine in a 2-2 all draw to make them six,” said Hove.
He added: “The problem is that we have not been scoring many goals as well. We need to work on our strike force to get as many goals as we can. At times goals come into play when teams finish tied on points.”
In their campaign to gain promotion last year, Hove conceded only 13 goals after featuring 26 times for ZPC Kariba.
“Last season I conceded only 13 goals in 26 matches where we played a total of 34 matches. Lovemore Makwavarara was in goals for the other eight matches which I did not feature.”
But who is this Hove?
Hove grew up in Amaveni high density suburb of Kwekwe. He did his primary education at Amaveni Primary School before enrolling at Amaveni Secondary School for his O’ Level and later proceeded to Kwekwe High School for his A’ Level education.
His professional football career started when he was a Form Four student in 2004. He had gone to try his luck at Division One side Chrome Stars. By then, there were good goalkeepers at Chrome who included Phumuzile Zikhali under the guidance of former Soccer Star of the Year, James Takavada.
Hove impressed the coaches who then gave him his first professional contract until 2006 when he was lured to join Ziscosteel which was on a rebuilding exercise under Jostein Mathuthu assisted by Tobias Mudyambanje. Again at Zisco, there were good goalkeepers that also included Matembo Banda.
Zisco also offered him apprenticeship, a four-year programme in Electrical Engineering which he completed after commencing studies in 2008. He played in a formidable team that included Masimba Mambare and Patrick “Fish” Mumba.
In 2008, he was loaned to Lancashire Steel, a subsidiary of Ziscosteel, to help the team which was in the premiership.
At Lancashire, he had to contend with Zikhali who had also moved to Lancashire from Chrome Stars, Prince Dube and Edmund Chimhini.
Unfortunately, Lancashire got relegated and he had to join Chrome Stars again as he was now attending school at Kwekwe Polytechnic.
“I had to join Chrome Star as their training ground was close to my school.”
The years elapsed and Hove finished his four-year apprenticeship programme.
After having worked with Patson Ndabambi at Chrome, he lured him to ZPC Kariba in 2012 and the challenge for topflight league started.
“When I got to Kariba, I just told myself that life should begin here now. I claimed the number one jersey and made it my own,” said the Class One electrician.
However, Hove feels they have a strong team that can match any opponent in our local league but just need to improve on certain aspects of the game.
“We are an equally good side but we need to work on finishing. Most of the departments have been doing well. The sky is the limit. I hope I keep this form; who knows, I might be the goalkeeper of the season in my first year in topflight league,” concluded the father of two.