All hail Sunday Chidzambwa . . . he was an inspiration on and off the pitch

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LOCAL coaches, former players and current stars have saluted former national team coach Sunday “Mhofu” Chidzambwa after he announced he is taking a back seat from active coaching, having served for almost four decades.
Chidzambwa, one of the most respected local coaches who is credited with taking Dynamos to the 1998 Champions League final while also leading Zimbabwe to their first ever Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals in 2004, says he will only be available to take up advisory roles in the future.
The 67-year-old’s last full-time job as a coach was last year when he led Zimbabwe to the 2019 Afcon finals in Egypt before stepping down after the tournament following a first-round exit that was precipitated by a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

Some of the highlights in Chidzambwa’s coaching career include taking the Glamour Boys to the 1998 African Champions League final before losing 4-2 on aggregate to Ivorian giants Asec Mimosas in controversial circumstances. Chidzambwa also won four Cosafa Cups with the national team.
Below are the views of some of the people who worked with Chidzambwa during his illustrious career.

Memory Mucherahohwa:
“Sunday, I don’t think there is any local coach who can reach his heights. I’m sorry to say to the young coaches, the truth of the matter is that this man has achieved huge things.
“I started working with Sunday I think around 1986 and you could tell he was a great coach.
“In my humble opinion, I think he should have hung in there for a few more years. He is one person, who I think should continue to be involved in football because he has seen it all.
“He is I think the first black captain of the national team and went on to coach what became the best team in the country.

“He took them to the final of the Champions League before leading Zimbabwe to their first ever Afcon finals in 2004. “His CV is rich that’s why I feel he still has a lot to contribute to our football. If we are a true football nation, I think we need to create a role for Sunday to ensure he remains active in our football. If we don’t do that it’s a huge loss to us.
“I think our local football still needs Sunday not as a coach but in other different roles. For instance, he served Dynamos with distinction and won’t be a problem if they put him in their structures. He played for the team and was even captain and went on to coach the team.
“So, a person like him has a lot of football knowledge which should be utilised rather than see him leave. Look at Sir Alex Furguson or Bobby Charlton, they played football a long time ago but they are still involved in football big time.
“That’s exactly why I’m saying that Sunday’s knowledge might not be used on the field of play but can still be utilised elsewhere. For me personally, Sunday can be Dynamos’ chairperson. I’m sure he can lead the team because he has seen and done that.
“When I heard that he was retiring, I was not happy because I felt he still has a lot to offer. Zifa, PSL or Dynamos should at least find somewhere to place him to improve our football.
“I have huge respect for Sunday because he moulded me and even appointed me Dynamos captain.”

Desmond Maringwa:
“Basically, he gave me an opportunity when the odds were against me. I was very young when he promoted me from the juniors to the Dynamos first team.
“And then it was difficult for young players to break into the senior team.
“You needed to have an extra edge for you to make it into the senior team. And at 19, Chidzambwa saw it fit to promote me and even went on to play me in the 1998 Champions League final and I’m forever grateful to him.
“I learnt a lot of things from him. He was a fatherly figure to most players.
“He made me what I became in football. He commanded a lot of respect from players. He was a no-nonsense man yet very friendly.
“He knew his football and I believe this is a man who needs to be honoured. His achievements are there for all to see.
“He literally won everything at Dynamos and went on to do great work for the national team.
“He is more than a legend and as a country I think we really have to appreciate him.”

Tonderai Ndiraya:
“Chidzambwa is certainly the best coach we have had as a country so far. His achievements speak for themselves.
“After winning several championships and trophies with Dynamos he went on to reach the final of the much-coveted African Club Champions League.
“I think the major highlights of his career is taking the nation to the 2004 Afcon finals for the first time in the country’s footballing history. We are all following in his footsteps. A great personality envied by many.
“Many who were coached by him during their playing days have gone on to become good coaches. Mhofu had everything you wanted in a coach. Tough but friendly and very approachable.
“His man management was professional and he would get the best out of the players he worked with. He turned average players into national team quality.
“A true professional who never had any controversy in his entire coaching career. The man is a legend and deserves a special place in the history of our country’s sport and football in particular.”

Norman Mapeza:
“He will remain the best ever coach to come out of this country.
“His achievements speak volumes, massive achievements. But like he said that he is not moving completely out of football, us local coaches we need advice and proper guidance from such people.”

Lloyd Chigowe:
“Mhofu, besides being an illustrious servant of Zimbabwean football, was a reassuring father figure, an astute tactician whose records at Dynamos and with the national team defy words.
“Here is a man who understands the game and we can only underutilise him at our own peril. There must be a role for him in Zimbabwean football, surely.”

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