HAVING been a local league champion in the famous green and white stripes, former CAPS united central defender Charles Manjera is naturally excited about the prospects of his former side scooping the Castle Lager Premier League Championship this season.
yesteryear profile with ADMIRE JAMU-MLAMBO
But having played under the tutelage of the current Green Machine coach Lloyd Chitembwe, he worries about the gaffer’s man management skills as the league title race heads for a photo finish.
Thirty-three-year-old Manjera, who also played for former premier league sides Kiglon and Blue Rangers as well Douglas Warriors and several lower division sides, says he will be on cloud nine if his former team wins the league.
“I would be extremely happy if they win the title this year as a team that I played for. Truly speaking, Lloyd Chitembwe is a very good coach, but his man management skills are not good at all and this is an acid test for him to show his capabilities as he [Chitembwe] is competing with FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza and Highlanders’ Dutch coach Erol Akbay, who are good motivators,” Manjera said in an interview with Standardsport.
Manjera starred in the CAPS United team that won the premier Soccer League title under the guidance of former warriors coach Charles Mhlauri in 2005.
“I must admit that 2005 was my best year because I played 25 games donning the famous green and white jersey, partnering Zambian Laughter Chilembe, Takesure Chiragwi and Milos Phiri. There was stiff competition to be selected into the first team but 2005 remains my memorable year,” he said.
Sadly, his five-year stint as a Makepekepe first team player ended during Chitembwe’s reign in 2010 under unclear circumstances.
His football journey had started in 2001 when he joined the CAPS United juniors as an 18-year-old rising star, but after initially failing to make the grade in Mhlauri’s first team, he had to be content with a place in the club’s reserve side.
A brief loan stint at Southern Region Division One league side ZPC Hwange in 2003 paid off as Manjera started to command a first jersey at the heart of defence.
“I think the gamble that I took paid very well and coach Jostein Mathuthu then convinced me to join Douglas Warriors in 2004 with the assistance of Mhlauri so that he could also check on my performance and it paid off,” Manjera said.
In 2005, the then CAPS United coach Mhlauri recalled Manjera but a wrangle emanated over the ownership of the player, with Douglas Warriors demanding a then hefty Z$10 million from the Harare giants.
However, after the dispute was resolved Manjera started playing regularly in his familiar position as a central defender, helping CAPS United to the 2005 league championship — their last title to date.
The following year they were runners up in the Charity Shield Cup and the Independence Cup Trophy, losing to Highlanders and Masvingo United respectively.
Manjera was also part of the CAPS United team that travelled to the United Kingdom for a friendly match against Highlanders which saw several of his teammates including Raymond Undi, the late Silent Katumba, David Sengu and Elton Chimedza remaining behind.
“It was a really sad development for a very strong Caps United side but on the other hand, that incident gave birth to some new players in the mould of Tsungai Mudzamiri, Masset Zengeni, Quincy Antipas, Danger Fourpence, Limited Chikafa and Lionel Mutizwa, among others.”
His Caps United chapter concluded during the 2009 season when Chitembwe took over the team and he was not in the new coach’s plans.
Stints at Kiglon Birds and Big Valley Masters where he played alongside Tinei Meda and Roderick Mutuma would soon follow.
He also played for Zim Alloys, Blue Rangers and Eastern Stars in the country’s regional division one leagues before hanging his boots in 2012.
Now retired from the game, Manjera is running an aerobics exercises project in his hometown of Chitungwiza which focuses on health and fitness.
“It’s doing well because daily I train a minimum of 40 people and among them national team coach Kallisto Pasuwa, CAPS United left back Ronald Pfumbidzai and Christopher Samakweri [before he moved to Bulawayo] to keep themselves fit,” he said.
Manjera has also dedicated his time to football development, setting up Athletico Academy which has 54 players in the Under 14, 16 and 18s age group categories.
He is also the director of football at Saint Edens Primary School in Seke and the head coach of St John’s College in the capital on a part-time basis.
Manjera was born on January 14 1983 to a soldier (father) and police officer (mother).
He went to school at Zengeza 4 Primary School and did secondary education at Benard Mzeki College before proceeding to Cranborne High School for his A’ Levels.
Manjera is happily married to Abigail Chiriseri and they have two children, Chelsea and Cristiano.