The life of a footballer is never smooth. And when push comes to shove, some footballers run away from the game they love the most to pursue other avenues that are completely divorced from the sport.
By Brian Nkiwane
Such is the story of former CAPS United captain Edmore Chafungamoyo, who hung his boots prematurely to try his hand at tobacco farming in Marondera.
While football teams were courting players and beefing up their squads at the beginning of the year in preparation of the new season, Chafungamoyo was tending to his golden leaf and eagerly waiting for the tobacco auction floors to open for the new selling season.
But barely a year after quitting football, the temptation to come back into those epic midfield battles in the top flight league has become hard to resist.
Only last week he guided Harare province to retain the Vice Chancellor’s Cup where he was easily the most outstanding player, showing flashes of the midfield kingpin he used to be when he donned the Underhill, CAPS United and Triple B colours.
Chafungamoyo, believes his legs still have the mojo to carry him on and that he has a lot to offer to Zimbabwean football.
“When I left football, I was really frustrated with what was going on around my career and I decided I was going to take a break for a while, but then I had to find something to do that would give me a livelihood,” the midfield hardman told Standardsport in an exclusive interview.
“I then realised that farming could be more rewarding than football and it is something I was able to do that could impact on my life in a big way. The tobacco prices have been better this year and I am happy with what I managed to get and I expect to improve my output in the coming season,” said Chafungamoyo.
Frustration in football crept in for Chafungamoyo after he left CAPS United to join Triple B last year.
No sooner had he begun his term at Triple B did he get a scholarship from Midlands State University who also wanted him to be part of the university’s football team which was doing well in the Zifa Central region, but Triple B refused to give him a clearance.
After having to let an opportunity pass due to contractual obligations, he felt he was left with no choice but to quit and see his contract out while sitting at home.
He came back into football briefly last season when he turned out for Starbill, but it was only for six months, after which he went back to monitor his tobacco fields.
Chafungamoyo, who is pursuing a Bsc Degree in Physical Education, began his football journey at Chapungu FC in the Midlands capital in 2004 where he invested four years of his career, a stint during which he was attested into the army.
He joined Beitbridge-based side Underhill in 2008, which was then under the tutelage of Bevan Gwamure. But it was his four-year stay at CAPS United that represents the apex of his career as a footballer where he even attracted the interest of a number of South African teams.
As he now mulls a return, he is looking nowhere but to the Green Machine for another dance with the cream of local football.
“I really miss playing football, especially those battles in the middle of the park in premier league matches. I don’t think a player like me belongs to the lower divisions, so I am eyeing a return to top flight football,” Chafungamoyo said.
“I would like to play for CAPS United again, but it all depends on whether they are willing to give me another chance or not. I think I have a lot to offer Zimbabwean football because I believe I still have five or more seasons in me,” he said.
He fondly remembers one particular match which he regards as his best — the duel that plucked him from a small club into one of the biggest institutions in the country.
“The best match that I have played — from my point of view — was back in 2009 when I was still at Underhill and that was the match that ultimately changed my life for the better,” said Chafungamoyo.
“It was against CAPS United and in that match I scored two goals as we drew 2-2 against a big club. From that day CAPS United started chasing after my signature. It was the last match of the season and Underhill got relegated on that day, but my performance assured me of a place in the top flight league,” said the 31-year old Gweru-born footballer.
Last week, Chafungamoyo helped Harare province win the trophy for the third time in a row, with the Vice Chancellor declaring that Harare region keep the trophy forever.