By Phillip Zulu
Heading and reading through what Dynamos player Denver Mukamba is experiencing as a drug user calls for our utmost care and selfless support to try and help the young man turn a new leaf for the better.
Mukamba is someone who is highly spoken of by most ardent soccer fans and coaches who believe in his natural talent that caught their attention when he was voted the Soccer Star of the Year in 2012 and subsequently being appointed captain of the senior national team by Klaus Pagels, the German coach who was in charge of the Warriors.
Just by achieving this feat and rising from social obscurity, this should have been a great opportunity for Denver to live the dream of being at the peak with a top local club like Dynamos and captain of the national team but sadly, poor personal decisions and a host of other issues have wrecked his talent that should be a huge source of inspiration to many young aspiring footballers who come from similar backgrounds and also for his next career trajectory.
History has it on the negative side of such similar cases of top talented players on the local scene and in top world football if we look back on the darlings of the game that are deceased or still alive, but leading miserable lifestyles due to drug use and alcoholic abuse.
The late George Best, a magical player for Manchester United is a classic example of a genius that succumbed to the same pitfalls of extreme alcoholism and an uncontrollable social life that was sadly on the front pages of newspapers during his heydays, with every little episode and dent hogging the limelight.
One clear message that needs to be communicated to all our young athletes is that sport is a very short career and as such, any simple mistakes and poor decisions, one pays dearly for the rest of their lives if they fail to get help in time and try to go against the grain of accepted wisdom on offer.
Looking back, the late former Dynamos, Black Aces, Arcadia United and Zimbabwe national team player Archieford Chimutanda hogging the limelights in the media for one reason after the other, as his social life evidently lacked discipline and good judgement on his controversial decisions that hugely blighted his career and reduced his glowing talents to a social wreck and public misfit as he failed to live up to the minimum expectations.
The late Chimutanda was blessed with a natural talent that every football soul out there would have wished that the Almighty God could have done the same on them, but the social vices and demons got over his talent and the fall from grace was largely humiliating when the playing days permanently ceased to exist and bring food on the table.
In Third World economies sport does not really offer any of these athletes decent incomes, let alone stable remuneration after even as coaches or employees of the game.
This home truth is paramount to every budding athlete and failing to drive it undiluted is massaging the egos of many young folks like Denver Mukamba who could be trapped in these social vices that only bring misery and destitution, as history has been the greatest teacher of such wayward behavioural tendencies that raise their ugly heads in every society.
Who could deny the charm, charisma and magical touches of George Best and our local hero Archieford Chimutanda, not forgetting the former Newcastle United and Everton star Paul Gascoigne, FC Barcelona’s former great Diego Maradona and Brazilian Edmundo “The Animal”, with the latter failing to explode on the international stage as his extreme talent suffered a comatose due to ruinous behaviour that became a toxic on the national team.
Having talent is one thing, but to be able to convey it for the right platforms is another package that does require serious introspection from the individual athlete from the onset before plunging into deepest depths of obscurity and nonentity.
Denver Mukamba should simply be encouraged to realise that these drug pushers who throng on his territory are vile opportunistic ruthless life wreckers whose sordid motivation is to line their pockets at the expense of poor souls who are so vulnerable and gullible in the wider context of how sport is a big draw card for these syndicates.
What troubles our hearts is the fact that when these young players start their careers, it’s not an easy journey and smooth sailing ascension, but a tough and rough episode of foregoing major life changing decisions that with being a sports person as hours and hours of precious time are ploughed into training and preparation from very tender ages.
Education is the first casualty in most instances and this exacerbates the future problems associated with lack of stable careers established on good academic foundations.
It’s troubling to read through Denver’s nose-diving career and this downward spiral should be collectively arrested without fail as it will dent the image of our beloved game, especially with young aspiring players. DailyNews