OCTOBER 19 2012 will forever linger on the mind of former Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs left-back Zhaimu “Jimmy” Jambo.
BY MICHAEL MADYIRA
A dreadful lunge by compatriot Tinashe Nengomasha in the Telkom Cup first round match between Chiefs and Wits University left his knee irreparably damaged.
As fate would have it, the incident happened with a minute remaining to full-time.
Two years later, at a tender age of 26, Jambo is contemplating retirement from football because of the injury.
While it is Jambo whose career could prematurely end and should be ruing that horrific tackle, it is Nengomasha who appears haunted.
“I regret ever taking part in that game and if I could turn back the hands of time, I would have sat out,” said Nengomasha.
“Whenever I think about that day, I get sad. It is painful to me and I will live with that pain forever. I did not mean to hurt Jimmy. When I heard that he was planning to retire I have been frantically trying to get hold of him but you know his phones are off most of the times.”
True to Nengomasha’s word, it has been impossible for Standardsport to get hold of Jambo for the past two weeks.
The incident in question happened when Nengomasha had just left Chiefs for Wits and most Chiefs fans concluded that he was a bitter man and decided to vent his acrimony on Jambo.
“I know people are quick to judge and are saying a lot of things, including that I intentionally hurt him because I still had issues with Chiefs. I think people saw what happened on TV. If you look at the video, it is clear my intentions were not to harm Jimmy,” said Nengomasha.
“Before Chiefs signed Jimmy, they asked for my views on him just the way I had recommended Knowledge Musona and [Willard] Katsande. So how could I have intentionally hurt him? I had not watched Jimmy in action before but I recommended him on the basis of him being a national team player.”
The former Warriors vice-captain and Mpumalanga Black Aces new acquisition has pledged the upkeep of Jambo in the event that he finally retires.
“I have talked to my wife about it and I will see what I can do for Jimmy if he is no longer playing. I have to chip in here and there whenever I can,” he said.
While it has been widely concluded that Jambo has made a final decision to hang his boots, Kaizer Chiefs have insisted that the defender has not yet made a final decision.
Chiefs media and corporate communications manager, told Standardsport on Friday that the player has only shown intention to call it a day.
“Jimmy has not retired as yet,” said Maphosa.
“There has been just intention to retire. The issue is currently under discussion between him and the club. He is still contracted to us for another year.”
Manager Bobby Motaung had issued a conflicting statement during a press conference on July 23.
“Jimmy Jambo has decided to hang his boots because of his injury” Motaung said then.
A statement on their official website that day read, “Left-back Jimmy Jambo is planning to hang up his boots and will be making the announcement soon in that regard.”
After trying to come back last season and making only bench appearances, chances are high that Jambo will retire.
The chances have also been heightened by the fact that he is not currently training.