WHENEVER he is asked to introduce himself, he leaves people in stitches; “My name is David ‘Diaspora’ Kutyauripo.” This introduction has become his trademark.
By Brian Nkiwane
Besides being known for leading Harare City to its firstever silverware, fellow players, the technical team and officials know him for his love for sadza and lacto.
That is Harare City skipper Kutyauripo for you.
The enterprising roving defender announced his retirement from football early last week, much to the disappointment of his followers who believe he can still put in a little more years.
But according to Kutyauripo, his retirement has nothing to do with his age as he has been one of the best players in the league.
“To be honest, I have run my race and it’s time to call it a day. But one thing that I would want people to know is that it’s nothing to do with my age. I will be turning 37 on March 7, but the reason behind my retirements is the injury that I sustained last season,” Kutyauripo told Standardsport last week.
The defender suffered a left foot injury which kept him on the sidelines for the better part of the season last year.
“It’s very difficult to get over such an injury. I feel pain each time I run. So I thought I should give myself time to heal,” he said.
Having played football for over two decades, Kutyauripo thinks it’s high time he hung his boots and give youngsters a chance while he prepared for life after playing football, obviously taking the route to the dugout.
“I am a Level One coaching certificate holder which I attained at Dzivarasekwa Grounds in December last year. I am just waiting for other levels of coaching so that I become a well-equipped coach. I have to take my time to learn coaching. I am not in a hurry at all,” he said.
After a blistering football career that saw him play for two of the top three teams in the country, Kutyauripo says he owes his success to his parents, brothers and sister as well as his friends who stood by him each and every minute of his playing career.
“My football story will not be complete if I don’t salute these people, my mum Everjane and dad Clement, my sisters Caroline, Pamhidzai [late], Otilia, Gladys, Evelyn and Anna as well as my one and only brother George. I have a friend, Irvine Kabade [late] who helped me in making most of my career decisions, and my best friend Chris Nazare who I have approached with this idea of hanging my boots and he gave it thumbs up,” Kutyauripo said.
The former Warriors defender whose football career took him to Albania and Cyprus, has three memorable matches of his 20-year long career.
“I enjoyed all the national team matches that I played under Brazilian coach Valinhos,” said the man who has more than 25 national team caps.
“Locally, my best match was when Dynamos played FC Platinum at Mandava in 2011. The teams were chasing the championship, and that match was to decide the destination of the championship. Thanks to Daniel Vheremu, the then FC Platinum captain who gave us a goal that made the difference. On that particular day I was on song. On the Champions League front, my best match was against Esperance at Rufaro.”
With other players hanging their boots at round 30, Kutyauripo revealed the secret why he has played for such a long time.
“The secret has been hard training, the food that I eat as well as staying away from alcohol and smoking. Training has been the biggest weapon that has kept me going. As for food, I grew up in a poor family, so I got used to eating sadza with vegetables and dried kapenta. But to tell the truth sour milk became my favourite,” said Kutyauripo with a chuckle.
Kutyauripo also spoke about the heartbreak he suffered in the inaugural Chibuku Super Cup against FC Platinum at Mandava.
“That was the most difficult day of my football career. I could not swallow the pill. I had played my heart out, determined to lift the cup on its inauguration. But, guess what, Platinum equalised in the last second of added time forcing the match into extra time and we lost the game. It was so painful. If I had won the Chibuku Super Cup I could have retired last year as I would have earned myself a retirement package, but I told myself that I needed to give it another try the following season.”
He eventually did it the following season with a vengeance. Captaining Harare City, he got a distinction beating all the clubs including Dynamos who they walloped in the final to lift the cup.
“I had even told my friend Gift Muzadzi at a press conference before the final that I was going to lift the cup and he laughed me off.”
But how did it all begin for Kutyauripo?
Kutyauripo’s football career started when he was a Grade 3 pupil at Tsinhirano Primary School in Tafara in 1988. He proceeded to Tafara High School for secondary education where he played in the school team as well.
His professional career started in 1991 with Circle Cement juniors before being lured to join CAPS United by the late Alois Patsika. At CAPS United he played one season before packing his bags to join Hackney then in Division One in 1998. He also had a brief stint at Zupco also in Division One.
Kutyauripo made his premiership debut in 1999 when he joined Air Zimbabwe with the likes of Patrick Chapoterera, Lloyd Jowa, Thabani Mabvura, Shaiso Chiduku and Allan Chipangula who was from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Air Zimbabwe were then relegated forcing Kutyauripo to retrace his footprints to Circle Cement in 2001. The cement producers had then been promoted into the top flight league. He linked up with a number of players from Air Zimbabwe, including James Matola.
He once again left Circle Cement in 2002 and joined Njube Sundowns which was playing in Division One in Bulawayo. In the middle of the season, Kutyauripo left for Albania for trials and only came back in 2003 when Sundowns had been promoted into the topflight league.
He left Sundowns again for yet another trials stint in Cyprus and this time around the football gods smiled on him, securing a one year contract.
“I joined Apop Krynas playing as a midfielder.”
After the expiry of his one year contract, Kutyauripo opted to come back home where he joined Dynamos in 2006 just for three months.
He left DeMbare at the end of the season and joined CAPS United in 2007 until 2009.He had another three-month stint at Shooting Stars that year before rejoining DeMbare in 2010 until 2012.
From Dynamos, Kutyauripo joined Harare City in their maiden year in the league and helped them finish tied on points with DeMbare and Highlanders. DeMbare were, however, the ultimate winners on goal difference.
“That was another painful period in my football career. It was painful missing the title on the last day of the league,” Kutyauripo said.
His career saw him win two league titles, two Mbada Diamonds Cups, One Independence Cup, the Bob 87 Cup, NetOne Cup, the Zaoga Cup, and the League runners up to Motor Action in 2010 all with DeMbare.
He also won the top eight Super Cup with CAPS United in 2007 and 2008 and being runners up of the same cup in 2009 while at Shooting Stars.
He also made history when he was part of the soccer stars selecting panel in 2014 where he was also voted among the country’s best 11 players together with ZPC Kariba goalie Tendai Hove who skippered the power utility outfit.
That same year, Kutyauripo was voted Player of the Year at Harare City.
He said he will always have memories of three stadiums in the country.
“I will miss Rufaro, the deafening noise that comes from the Vietnam stand, Barbourfields, the sounds that come from Mpilo and Soweto ends as well as Mandava in Zvishavane.”
Kutyauripo is married to Catharine and God blessed them with two daughters Nicole (5) and Tanatswa (2).
But there is one person who will miss Kutyauripo at Harare City and that is his coach Taurai Mangwiro.
“It’s not always easy to find a captain of his caliber. It will not be easy working without Kutyauripo. He will be missed by everyone because he has been a true leader,” Mangwiro said.