BY MICHAEL KARIATI
FORMER Arcadia United and Dynamos defender Stanley Chirambadare could have moved to Coventry City in the English Premiership had it not been for his age.
Affectionately known as Samora — because of his beard’s resemblance to that of the late former Mozambican president Samora Machel — Chirambadare caught the attention of Coventry City during the English side’s tour of the country in 1990 when they played pre-season matches against Dynamos, and Highlanders.
However, what would have been a dream move for Samora did not materialise as Coventry were seeking a player aged 24 years and below while then DeMbare defender was aged 27.
Coventry later signed Highlanders’ young striker Peter Ndlovu, who went on to set the English Premiership alight with his dazzling dribbling skills and knack for goals.
Chirambadare jokingly said had the deal gone through, he could have played alongside Nsukuzonke at Coventry City and would now be classified as a legend alongside Peter, who was nicknamed “The Flying Elephant” at the peak of his powers.
“When Coventry came to Zimbabwe in 1990, they identified me as a player they wanted. Unfortunately, they wanted someone younger and I was 27 years old then.
They then went to Bulawayo to play Highlanders and signed Peter. I could have played with Peter at Coventry City had it not been for my age then,” said Chirambadare in an interview with Standardsport.
“Maybe now, people would have been calling me The Flying Buffalo,” joked Stanley, who is an older brother of Ernest who starred for Blackpool and Dynamos and was among the 11 finalists for the 1995 Zimbabwe soccer star of the year award.
Ernest also featured for Black Aces and CAPS United and after a brief stay in the United Kingdom is back in Zimbabwe in Marondera.
A member of the Dynamos side that won the Super League title in 1991, Chirambadare played alongside the likes of Angirai Chapo, Gift Mpariwa, Edward Katsvere, Garikai and Biggie Zuze, Max Makanza, Peter Fanuel, Claudius Zviripayi, Elvis Chiweshe, and Chapo was their captain.
Chirambadare did not play with Moses Chunga. In fact, it was part of Chunga’s transfer fees to Belgian side Eendracht Aalst that helped Dynamos secure Samora permanently from Arcadia United having previously been at DeMbare on loan.
Chirambadare fondly recalls how playing for Dynamos made him very popular and could not walk in the streets unrecognised.
“Just playing for a big club like Dynamos made me popular everywhere I went. Our club leaders told us that we had seven million supporters when the country itself had seven million people. That made us believes that everyone in the country supported Dynamos. It made me proud,” said Chirambadare.
Chirambadare, who is now 57 years old, says he is imparting the skills he gained from playing for Dynamos to young footballers in his home suburb of Mufakose where he runs Revival Sports Academy.
“I am giving these youngsters the chance to get off the streets and play football. The streets of the ghettos are not good; they have destroyed the future of many children. So, giving them this chance, takes them away from drugs and crime,” said Chirambadare.
Chirambadare is also the secretary-general of the Mufakose Junior League, in a suburb that gave birth to some of the top football stars like Chunga, Joel Shambo, Gift Mpariwa, Stanley Ndunduma, Angirai Chapo, Archieford Chimutanda, Mike Abrams, Taurayi Mangwiro, Memory Mucherahowa and Khama Billiat, among others.
The former DeMbare star has coached at local private schools such as Eaglesvale and Gateway, but his biggest coaching role was as head coach of the now defunct former Premiership side Sporting Lions.
Chirambadare was also assistant coach to the late Zambian mentor Keegan Mumba during his stint as DeMbare coach.
He says he owes his coaching knowledge to the legendary former Dynamos and Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambga.
Chirambadare is divorced with three daughters and a grandson.