GOING DOWN MEMORY LANE . . . Arthur Mushangazhike stresses a point during an interview

GOING DOWN MEMORY LANE . . . Arthur Mushangazhike stresses a point during an interview

Grace Chingoma Senior Sports Reporter
THE surname Mushangazhike is a household name in Zimbabwean soccer.

And it all started with Arthur Mushangazhike.

He was the first player to be called up to national team from Division One and earned nine Warriors caps while playing for BAT Ramblers.

He is the father of Elwyn, who died at his prime at the age of 23 in 1999, and Gilbert.

His brother Musekiwa, who also had a stint with BAT Ramblers, is the father of former Dynamos and Kaizer Chiefs winger Kelvin.

“My father used to compete in bicycle racing. Rufaro Stadium used to have tracks and they would go cycling there for prizes. That was way back, from 1949 up to the 50s.

“He got me a ball and I developed the passion for the game and started playing for amateur teams. There was a team called Mozambique which had people hailing from that country and another called Mashonaland.

“I featured for both these teams before I was taken to a team in Division One, BAT Ramblers, which was a sister club of Dynamos Football Club.

“Both teams were sponsored by the same company.

“I began playing for the team in 1977 and after Independence I was then called into the Zimbabwe national team by coach Shepherd Murape.

“The Warriors name was not yet in place and it was just Zimbabwe national team. Murape saw me and spoke to our club officials Stanley Muchina and Percy Langton,” he said.

Mushangazhike still remembers the feeling of that rare call-up.

“It was a special moment. I was happy, excited and it was a great honour. We were travelling to Ethiopia to play against their national team in the Child Survival Campaign, which was organised by CAF in 1981.

“I remember the team trained at Commando One Barracks and I was selected in the final team. Back then, Zimbabwe used to wear red uniforms before they changed to gold and green.

“We lost 3-2 in extra-time and Misheck (Chidzambwa) was red-carded in that game,” he said.

Mushangazhike reminisces about the feeling he had upon returning to his club as a “Zimbabwe international”.

He also still recalls the final his team played in 1978.

“We were in Division One and that was a super knock-out tournament. I remember on our road to the final we beat Black Aces 2-1. It was a good team which had players like Simon Mudzudzu, Daniel Chikanda and Ephraim Chamaringa.

“In the final we played Risco and we were heavily beaten 4-1. Risco had good players like Ephraim Mloyi, Benedict Moyo and Bernard Zikhali.

“In that cup match they walked into the stadium with a piece of a railway line as a way of marketing their company products and we ran around with packets of cigarette brands Life and Kingsgate.

“But as Risco came in carrying that railway line it was like they were carrying a coffin and they were going to bury us in it. We were intimidated and never recovered from that, maybe that is why we lost so heavily,” he said.

Then his sons started showing promise.

“My career was short and I was content to pass on the baton to my sons as I used to go around with them when I was still playing.

“I believe the family just had good sporting genes if you look at the family tree coming from my father. I feel proud to have such sons. Gilbert and Kelvin are still big names in South Africa.”

Mushangazhike, a holder of some coaching certificates, is still looking at attaining a Caf licence. He is now coaching a junior team in the Mbare Area Zone, Tawengwa City Stars.

“It is owned by Felicity Solomon Chirume Tawengwa, the son of former Harare mayor. We have young kids from 10 to 15 years and the team is based in Mbare.

What we do is, after school we train the kids at Mbare Bar grounds and have been doing so since 2012.

“We are glad that our first batch has graduated into some clubs, with Edwin Madanhanga at Flame Lily, Henry Manatsa going to Shabanie and Clive Mulenga at How Mine.

“We struggle with resources and my passion is developing junior football. My wish is to have a job with a club where I can groom juniors as they are the future.”

Mushangazhike, now a widower, stays with his last born teenage son Arthur.