THIRTEEN years since making his debut in the local premiership, evergreen Chicken Inn striker Obadiah Tarumbwa remains one of the deadliest strikers in the land.
BY FORTUNE MBELE
Over the years, he has retained the youthful exuberance, positional intelligence and an eye for goal while his technique remains supreme.
Tarumbwa (32) has managed to overcome the bad publicity emanating from his private life, steadily but without due recognition, played his game well over the years and has become a vital cog in the GameCocks’ squad.
He has started the 2018 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season on a roll scoring vital goals for Chicken Inn, who are eyeing a second championship after nicking the title in 2015.
The Sports Hub caught up with Tarumbwa at training during the week ahead of their derby clash against struggling Bulawayo City and he shared some secrets about his longevity although remaining tight-lipped about his off-the-field shenanigans, the reports about alleged romps with women, which has seen him hog the media limelight for the wrong reasons.
“I got good experience from my playing in Europe having also played in Kenya and South Africa. When I was in Europe I could have gone far, but I would have fallouts with coaches. but I would rather keep that to myself because it is personal stuff. Sometimes it was just a change of coaches that came to the clubs that I played for that disadvantaged me, but I had a good time there,” Tarumbwa said.
He says he got exposure and the desired experience during his days in Europe where he played briefly for Belgian side Cercle Brugge with former Highlanders teammates Honour Gombami and Vusa Nyoni.
From Cercle Brugge, Tarumbwa returned home and played for the Methembe Ndlovu-owned Bantu Rovers in 2009, but quickly returned to Europe the same year, this time to Cyprus where he stayed at Enosis Neon Paralimni for two years.
Another two years followed at APOP Kinyras up to 2012 and during that time he was linked with a move to German giants Bayern Munchen, which never materialised.
He was on the verge of inking a deal with local giants Dynamos that year, but got another better offer at Cypriot side Ermis Aradippou, where he spent one season before he headed to East Africa, where he became the first Zimbabwean player to feature in the Kenyan premier league for Sofapaka in 2013.
That same year he moved to South Africa where he joined University of Pretoria, leaving the following year to return home to Bantu Rovers.
Bantu Rovers loaned him to his boyhood club Highlanders in 2015 under coach Bongani Mafu, where Tarumbwa is credited for propping up young striker Knox Mutizwa.
Mtizwa scored 14 goals that season to win the Golden Boot award, which helped him strike a deal in South Africa where he joined Bidvest Wits and now is at Golden Arrows.
Tarumbwa then signed for two years with Chicken Inn in 2016 and played in the Caf Champions League, where the Gamecocks were bundled out by Mamelodi Sundowns.
This season Tarumbwa has been tapping from all that experience in what has been a brilliant start to the campaign, finding the back of the net against Dynamos, Shabanie Mine and CAPS United.
“I always train hard, stay positive and put a lot of commitment into what I do about the game of football which I love. The support that I get from my teammates is also excellent and keeps me going. I guess that is why I keep playing well. Of emphasis is the encouragement that I get from my colleagues, which has worked to my advantage,” Tarumbwa said.
In the local league, he scored six goals for Chicken Inn in 2016, banging in another six last season and has so far scored three with nine games played.
Tarumbwa also scorned at the bad publicity he has been receiving in local media.
“I don’t mind the bad publicity I have received from newspapers. I don’t put that into my head and I don’t let it interfere with my career. For me, there is life after football because at the moment I am still playing and one day I intend to be a coach,” Tarumbwa said.