HARARE – Maronga "Der Bomber" Nyangela yearns to help Black Rhinos relive their former glory days but his love-hate relationship with the club’s management has prevented him from doing so.
Nyangela, along with the likes of Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa, Japhet “Shortcut” Mparutsa, Stanley “Sinyo” Ndunduma, Simon “AK-47” Mugabe and Hamid “Muzukuru” Dhana, elevated a star-studded army side to lofty heights in the 1980s.
Rhinos have however since fallen from those lofty standings and have become perennial relegation candidates, something that makes Nyangela’s heart bleed.
“I’m pained to see Rhinos like this,” Nyangela tells the Daily News.
“I remember we used to be one of the best top five teams in the league. Now if you attend a Rhinos match they are only a handful of supporters. I want to help the team.
“But I know that will be difficult, maybe it’s because I speak my mind,” adds Nyangela, who has had coaching stints with Green Buffaloes, Masvingo United and Black Rhinos juniors.
Nicknamed “Der Bomber” by illustrious football commentator Evans Mambara (late) after Germany legend Gerd Mueller, Nyangela cut his teeth playing social soccer at the Mbare Number 7 grounds.
Then football was just a past time for young Maronga, along with his boyhood friends “Stix” Mtizwa, Eddie Katsvere, Sunday Masauso and Antony Kambami.
“We were just playing for buns and coke,” Nyangela nostalgically recalls.
The prolific striker went on to turn out for lower division side Screentop before joining Black Aces in 1982.
He went on to finish the 1983 season as Aces’ top scorer with 19 goals.
That feat also earned himself a place in the late Ashton “Papa” Nyazika’s Zimbabwe Under-20 team that year.
Big spending Black Rhinos would come knocking that year, luring the free scoring striker for the 1984 season.
Nyangela would live up to expectations, helping the army side win the league championship in his and the club’s debut PSL season before helping the army side reach the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Champions in 1985.
The Mbare-born striker, whose origins are from Mozambique, continued his goal scoring exploits in bagging the PSL Golden Boot award in 1987 after netting 29 goals.
Der Bomber would win the award again in 1993, this time sharing it with former Highlanders striker Adam Ndlovu (late) in 1993. The two fine strikers had each finished the season with 24 goals.
The former Masvingo United assistant coach credits his training regime for making him the finished article he turned out to be.
Der Bomber, however, is disappointed that local football has been missing free-scoring strikers of his calibre.
“When you have a league where the top goal scorer scores just 13 goals then you have a problem,” he says.
“What amazes me is that with all this technology you would think football is more advanced. Maybe it’s because money has got into the heads of these youngsters. During our time football was enjoyed. It was just for the love of the game.”
Despite Nyangela’s goal scoring prowess, his notable chance with the Warriors was when Reinhardt Fabisch drafted him in for an international friendly with Zambia at the National Sports Stadium in 1994.
Nyangela went on to hang his boots in 1998, taking up a coaching post at Green Buffaloes in Mutare.
The now 52-year-old Nyangela is still giving back to football as director of the Budiriro-based Arsenal Junior Football Club.
“I am now working at grassroots level with youngsters. I want to do more for football but for now I want to help these youngsters grow,” he says.