WHEN former Warriors coach Misheck Chidzambwa was fired by the now defunct Blue Ribbon six years ago, he just vanished from the local football scene.
yesteryear profile with MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
In a difficult economic environment, he had to find other means of looking after his family at the expense of the sport that brought him all the fame and not so much the fortune.
The renowned gaffer, who guided Zimbabwe to its first Cosafa Castle Cup triumph back in 2000 is often seen around the capital using his car as a taxi.
But after six years of hustling to make ends meet, Chidzambwa has expressed desire to come back into football and add more trophies to his coach’s cabinet.
“I am still around. You know how difficult things are here in Zimbabwe so I have been caught doing this and that for me to survive. But I think I would like to come back into football now and I’m ready to listen to offers if there are clubs that need my services,” he told Standardsport in an interview last week.
Younger brother to another legendary former Zimbabwe international and mentor, the current ZPC Kariba coach Sunday Chidzambwa, Misheck has coached Tanganda, Chapungu, Sporting Lions and Blue Ribbon.
In the late 1990s, Chidzambwa deputised the late Ian Porterfield as well the late Dutch coach Clemence Westerhof at the Warriors bench before eventually taking over in 2000.
The former Dynamos defender explained the reason for his lengthy hiatus from football.
“I stopped coaching because I was in a bad financial situation and without a job after Blue Ribbon fired me. And there was no guarantee of finding another coaching job soon and so I had to find other ways to get me out of the situation,” he said.
Chidzambwa could not be drawn to divulge what he is currently doing to earn a living but insisted that he has missed being in the dugout the whole time.
“If things were not bad for me, I would not have left the sport that I played and that has been a part of my life since I was young. I miss being out there imparting my football knowledge,” Chidzambwa said.
Apart from the Cosafa Cup win that came courtesy of a 3-0 win over Lesotho, Chidzambwa will also be remembered for lifting the 1993 Castle Cup with Tanganda, beating CAPS United on penalties.
“I am pleased for what I have achieved as a coach, especially winning the Cosafa Cup for my country. It was my highest achievement as a coach and it is satisfying to know I left a legacy in Zimbabwean football and I will always be remembered for it,” Chidzambwa said.
However, the former coach who resides in Chitungwiza’s Zengeza 5, castigated the Zimbabwe Football Association for shutting the door on former players and coaches, as well as its failure to look after its former footballers.
“It’s disheartening that Zifa does not look after its former footballers and most are wallowing in poverty having served the country with distinction. I think there should be a provision to help or give something to the former players who are struggling. But you would be surprised some people in Zifa do not want us in football, even when we just want to give back our expertise,” he said.
Son of a policeman, Chidzambwa fell in love with football as a young boy when he was doing Sub A at Ross Camp in Bulawayo in the 60s.
Unlike most of his peers, he did not carve his skills playing plastic ball but the tennis ball.
“I never played a plastic ball, but we would play soccer using a tennis ball a lot when we were young, moving from one police camp to the next until football became part of us. And from there I never looked back,” Chidzambwa revealed.
His competitive career began at Chikwanha Rangers back in 1974 where he first linked up with his brother Sunday and formed a formidable defence line.
He fondly remembers a match against Arcadia when he played as a goalkeeper after the substantive goal minder had travelled and failed to make it back in time.
“Back in the day, no one played a particular position. Everybody could play anywhere they were required to play. I had to play as a goalkeeper in one match against Arcadia after my brother insisted that I stand in for the goalkeeper and we actually won the match 2-1,” he said.
His bother moved to Dynamos in 1977 and he eventually followed in 1978 and that is where the brothers carved a name for themselves on the local football arena.
The two would eventually play together in the Warriors squad but injury then cut short Sunday’s career.
“It was easy playing with my brother Sunday because we had a natural understanding and I would know exactly what to do when he had the ball or when he did something. I’m also happy for what we have contributed to local football as brothers,” he said.
Of all the strikers he came against during his heydays, Chidzambwa singled out the late Shaky Tauro as his toughest opponent back in the day.