©️ GROWING up on the dusty streets of Mbare National, living hand to mouth after the death of his father, no one ever thought he would one day rise to be a celebrated name in Zimbabwean football.
Edward “Duduza” Sadomba became a household name after playing for a club with roots in his neighbourhood. Donning the famous Dynamos blue and white colours was always young Sadomba’s dream but he did not know the game would take him to faraway places.
“I grew up in difficult conditions, my father died when I was just three years old. I was raised by a widow (my mum, my hero, Josephine Sadomba); she tried her best but it was too much for her,” he told the Daily News on Sunday.
“Sometimes we would sleep on empty stomachs, it was difficult for mum as she depended on pension money, which wasn’t enough for fees, food, clothes and all the general basics a household needed.”
At nine, Sadomba was already on top of his game, exhibiting rare maturity and talent from a player his age.
He starred for his side in the six-team Sports for All Local Boys Soccer Tournament at the iconic Stodart Grounds in Mbare, winning the Player of the Tournament gong.
“I was very small and short but speedy and playing barefoot. We won the tournament, I was chosen Player of the Tournament and top goal scorer and I was given a small trophy. After the match the older guys from my hood lifted me up on their shoulders all the way to our house,” Sadomba said.
“My grandmother — Ennia Sadomba — had visited us so when she saw the crowd singing my name ‘Duduza Duduza Duduza’, she asked my mother whether I was injured as she could not tell from a distant what the loud celebrations were about.
“My older brother McDonald told her I had been crowned the best player at the tournament and she promised to buy me soccer boots and that I was going to be the best.”
Gogo Ennia lived up to her promise and after a month she went to South Africa to sell her merchandise (madhoyiri) and returned with a pair of black Patrick boots.
Her words that Sadomba would become a top player would be fulfilled as the poor boy from Mbare later became a shining example of a rags-to-riches story and an inspiration to all the kids from the suburb.
“First, the hand of God did miraculous things in my life and gogo’s words came to pass. I didn’t want to disappoint gogo and mum so I had to do more. The environment and the way I grew up in made my character strong,” said Sadomba.
“I’m not moved by anything, never. I have a lion’s heart. Academically I was very good but I told myself that only football will take me out of poverty so I gave up everything and focused more on my game.”
Inspiration was in abundance in Mbare; Gilbert Mushangazhike, Chamu Musanhu, Innocent Chikoya, Jack Mutandagari, Tichaona Diya, Wellington Masapenda, Vincent Chigaga, Hope Chihota, Nyasha Chazika, Ernest Masango, Mike Madzivanyika, Charles Yohane and Lewis Kutinyu all hail from Harare’s oldest suburb.
“They were our role models and we used to go to Rufaro before 11am and sneak in to watch these great stars so this kept me motivated that one day I would be like them.
“Above all what motivated me most was that this would be my ticket out of poverty and I didn’t want my kids to face the same problems,” Sadomba said.
After initially honing his skills at the now defunct Agatha Shaneti Soccer Academy and then Harare United, Sadomba moved to South Africa to join Maritzburg United in 2004 and stayed there for two seasons.
He returned to Zimbabwe to join DeMbare in 2006, helping fire the Glamour Boys to the 2007 league glory and the semi-finals of the African Champions League the following year.
Those exploits attracted the attention of some of Africa’s top teams and he eventually enjoyed stints with Bidvest Wits (South Africa), Liga Muculumana (Mozambique), Al-Hilal (Sudan), Al-Ittihad Kalba (UAE), Al Ahly Tripoli and Al Ahli Benghazi.
His mother though, always wanted her son to pursue his studies.
“At first she was very strict but when she realised that I was getting prizes at a very young age she poured her blessings upon my career and she was very supportive,” Sadomba said.
“It’s not enough to thank her but I demolished the old core house where I grew up in and built her a new seven-room house.”
Sadomba has achieved a lot from football and is grateful for everything the sport has given him.
“Football helped me to get my first passport, fly to different nations, meet and dine with national leaders, win accolades and above all help others through the Edward Sadomba Foundation. I managed to wed because of football,” he said.
“From a Mbare street boy to become the African Champions League (2011) and African Confederation (2012) top goal scorer and currently African Clubs Competition all-time top scorers top 10 list is a great achievement.
“My ambition is to open the way for other athletes to do better no matter their background, race, gender and colour.”
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