By Charles Mabika
When another Battle of Zimbabwe explodes on Sunday in a Chibuku Super Cup first round tie, the country’s two biggest clubs will be playing for more than just the silverware.
Two of their greats — Hamid “Muzukuru” Dhana and Madinda “Kathazile” Ndlovu — are under the weather.
Dhana is recovering at home in Arcadia from colon cancer while Madinda is in hospital in Gaborone after collapsing at his team’s training base two weeks ago.
The two fought many battles at Rufaro and Barbourfields in the Golden Era of the ‘80s as they featured for their clubs.
While Dhana left DeMbare for Black Rhinos at the end of the 1982 season, Kathazile stuck with his beloved Bosso.
He also had stints in England and Germany in-between his long association with the Bulawayo giants.
This Sunday’s Chibuku Super Cup encounter will feature an array of emerging players like Dynamos’ Simba Chinani, Emmanual Jalai, Jarrison Selemani, Tawanda Chisi, Tinotenda Muringai and Nigel Katawa.
Bosso will have the likes of Prince Dube, Peter Muduwa, Nqobizitha Masuku, Bukhosi Sibanda, Ray Lunga (Jnr) and Maclive Phiri.
All these players dream of one day becoming household names like Dhana and Madinda.
Dhana will forever be remembered for his unique and mesmerising swivel, with the ball firmly under control, followed by a defence-splitting pass to set up the likes of Gift Mpariwa or Oliver Kateya.
Madinda used to accelerate down the right wing, leaving his markers sprawling before he floated a perfect cross for the likes of Tobias Mudyambanje to prod home.
Mandigora, who played alongside Dhana in midfield at both Dynamos and the Warriors, recalls that golden era.
“Hamid is, undoubtedly, one of the most skilful players I have ever played alongside,’’ said Mandigora.
“I was more of a defensive shield at both sides while Dhana would be given the licence to roam around the field and create openings for the strikers . . . and boy, he do it so diligently.
“Then, of course, there is that inimitable back body swerve where he would be facing his own goal and, all of a sudden, his marker would stumble following that miraculous swivel.
“And, he would glide up-field as he looked for an opening to cause more havoc.
“I truly wish him all the best as he recovers from his ailment. He was a creative genius on the pitch from whom the current youngsters could learn a lot.
“And, ooh, by the way Dhana was always the life of the party as he was a master narrator of many humorous jokes . . . even today, he is never short of churning out a couple of rib-chucklers.’’
Former Bosso defence stalwart, Douglas Mloyi, revealed that during their era, every player looked up to Madinda to engineer the team’s victory.
“This guy (Madinda Ndlovu) was a phenomenon, whenever he put on a Highlanders or Warriors jersey,’’ he said.
“All he wanted to do was dash towards his opponents and weave past them and create goals or, better still, score them himself.
“I was not surprised when he took up coaching after he hung up his boots.
“He was so intent on passing on his skills and knowledge to the future generation.
“He is a great fighter and I know that he will come out of this unlucky phase and bounce back into his beloved coaching job at Gaborone United.’’
Another former Bosso player, Collsen “Cossy’’ Mabeza, who also had a stint with Dynamos, said Madinda used to rise to the occasion, especially when the chips were down.
“Every time this tearaway winger dashed down the right flank, you would have to be prepared for a perfect cross because that was his speciality,” he said.
As the flutters of recovery continue to nestle in both Dhana’s and Madinda’s limbs, the small voices, in their hearts and minds, will no doubt be rooting for each of their side’s victory on Sunday.
One thing is for certain, though.
When it comes to creativity, and pace in domestic football, the two names of Hamid Dhana and Madinda Ndlovu will always be emblazoned on the first pages of that script. The Herald