BY SINDISO DUBE
AFTER committing 18 years of his life to the Highlanders Football Club family, a sense of belonging had gripped former Bosso captain Eric “Tsiba” Mudzingwa.
But the entry into the scene of former club right winger Madinda “Khathazile” Ndlovu left a bitter taste in the mouth for Mudzingwa as this marked the end of his romance with one of the country’s most followed and adored football clubs.
Ndlovu, upon his return to the club, dismissed Mudzingwa along with other senior players Ralph Matema and Simon Munawa on the basis they were not fitting in his plans to rebuild the former Bulawayo giants, who had turned into a pale shadow of their former self.
Madinda’s decision to do away with Mudzingwa, Allan Gahadzikwa, Matema, and Munawa has, given the performance of the club in its first six games of the 2019 season, irked a section of supporters who feel the absence of such senior players has left the team exposed in the defence department and lacking experience and leadership.
Mudzingwa was recruited into the Highlanders juniors fold in 2000 by the then juniors coach Reuben Tsengwa. In 2005, he was part of the Tsengwa-coached Bosso Under-19 team, which played in the Zifa Southern Region Division One before being promoted to the senior team in 2007 by then coach Methembe “Mayor” Ndlovu.
This is the same Bosso squad that ended the particular season as runners-up to league champions Dynamos.
During his Bosso days, Mudzingwa was deployed at centre back, right back, left back and anchorman.
He saw the black and white stripes of Bosso as the alpha and omega of his career. He knew only Bosso’s dressing room as his home and for him, Emagumeni, as Barbourfields Stadium is affectionately known, was home away from home.
But alas, all this changed when Madinda rejoined the team last year and vowed that he was doing away with the old guard, a decision which many described as a betrayal of Mudzingwa’s loyalty to Bosso.
During his time at Highlanders, Mudzingwa attracted interest from Dynamos and FC Platinum, but remained loyal to the Bosso cause because of his love for the club and its sea of fans.
At one time he went for trials at South African side, Baroka — a stint that did not yield the desired results. This was after the Limpopo-based side club sacked coach Jacob Sakala, his assistant Edward Williams and technical director Mark Harrison.
After his unceremonious exit from Bosso, Tsiba sought refuge at municipal side Bulawayo City FC, where he signed a one- year contract, but did not finish the season after picking up a tendon muscle injury in a match against reigning champions FC Platinum at Barbourfields.
Mudzingwa is a bitter man as the sudden turn of events has left him and his football career in the abyss.
A disappointed Tsiba vowed that he would never return to Bosso even if an opportunity was presented to him — not as a player nor a coach — due to the manner in which the club had treated him.
“Even if a chance was presented now for me to return to Bosso, I will not take it. I won’t go back as a player or as a coach. I am disappointed in the team’s executive. I was loyal to them for 18 years, but they treated me as an outcast. They still owe me money from my signing-on fees even up to this day,” said Mudzingwa.
“For someone who has known Bosso for his entire life, I expected them to treat me in a decent way, but they chose to pay some players who came for two years all their dues. I was there since my childhood, but they decided not to pay me, even after showing me the exit door in an unceremonious fashion,” said an out-of-contract Mudzingwa.
“With Bulawayo City, I signed a one-year contract and when it expired at the end of the season it was not renewed. We played well, but unfortunately we couldn’t win matches and also I picked up an injury, which has sidelined me till now.
“I am not sure when I will be back on the field. I am working on my recovery and going to the gym, but if the injury persists I think I will have to call it a day. I think I have played my part in football and I don’t regret,” he said.
Speaking on life after football, Mudzingwa said he had not made any plans yet. “I will see about life after football when the time comes. I haven’t made plans as yet and I don’t see myself taking up coaching as a profession.”
The gangling Mudzingwa declared: “My love and support for Bosso is unquestionable. I will always support Bosso and my family supports Bosso. And I urge the current crop of players there to focus more on their work on the field of play and winning games and not get entangled in the fights within the executive.”
He added that the team needs support from everyone for them to come out of the slag they are in.
“The team is performing badly now and I urge everyone, especially the fans, to be patient and keep on supporting the boys. They will soon hit the right chord. The executive should also support the team,” Tsiba said.