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Down Memory Lane: Thriller at Rufaro

By Lot Chitakasha

I have to admit that I am not a big fan of movies.This is partly to do with my growing up in the rural areas where movies were unheard of back then. Of course we did catch a glimpse of Tiki as and when the then Ministry of Information showed us the excitement generating Bioscope.

Joel Shambo, Stanley Ndunduma, Shacky Tauro and Japhet Mparutsa... pre-match rituals.... Thriller at Rufaro!!
Joel Shambo, Stanley Ndunduma, Shacky Tauro and Japhet Mparutsa… pre-match rituals…. Thriller at Rufaro!!

When i moved to Harare, I lived in Highfield. This is the home of the much talked about Cyril Jennings Hall, CJ as it is popularly known. My friend Naison Nyandoro lived for films.

He used to start hustling for the elusive 5 cents entry fee on a Monday in preparation for the weekend. I think he knew all the films screened at this iconic hall. But for me the bug never really caught up, I preferred the Zimbabwe Grounds, they were my second home.

Then in 1988 one of my friends, another film fanatic Raphael Mukunda persuaded me. “You have to watch this one, it is called Coming to America..” Reluctantly, I agreed and let me say, I did not regret it. I fell in love with the film and I fell in love with Eddie Murphy.

Up to now, I regard him as my favourite actor, any film with Eddie, I make an effort to watch and everytime Coming to America is shown, I watch it to the end. I simply cannot get enough of it! I have lost count of the number of times I have sat through it!

Eddie Murphy's 1988 hit film Coming to America
Eddie Murphy’s 1988 hit film Coming to America

Like Coming to America, a film that I can watch again, Legends and Directors, the Chibuku Trophy final of 1987 which pitted Chauya Chipembere Black Rhinos and Makepepe, Shaisa Mufaro Caps United, is a match I can watch again and again.

If there was a video of this match, I would watch it every weekend. Maybe I would even create time midweek to watch it! We all know about the Thriller in Manila, well ladies and gentlemen, this was a Thriller at Rufaro!

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Allow me some latitude as I go down memory lane. Stanford Stix Mutizwa, Hamid Dhana and Stanley Ndunduma, were magicians in midfield, Govender Langton Mutimba anchored, conceded no space, Maronga Nyangela, Jerry Chidawa, pace, power and precision upfront.

They did not call Maronga The Bomber for nothing! Shortcat between the posts, unbeatable but well on this day he conceded 3. And yes, the steady Bla Widzo, William Chikauro ably supported by captain Lovemore Chikunha. Lest i forget, the marauding Simon “AK” Mugabe, prompting that quip from the affable Ashton “Papa” Nyazika.. “Uri huchi kaze..” he said! Mike Mabhurugwa Abrahams, Eddie Matsika, Jimmy Mbewe, the Livewire they called him all played their part!

In the Green corner, the team in my heart! What can I say about a midfield with The Headmaster Joel Shambo, flicks, juggles and panache, champagne football, Anthony Kambani, playing it simple and solid and the busy bee Oscar Motsi, we called him Simbimbino.

Upfront Mr. Goals at his peak, hungry and sure footed, Friday Phiri breaking down the wing, power and precise crossing.

On the other wing, a young Gift “Magyver” Mudangwe, he had pace and more pace!! Our defence monitored by upcoming Tobias Rock Steady Sibanda, the talented Kudzanayi Taruvinga and Paddington Zhanje steadying the ship. And yes, Baba va Gari Brenna Msika at his acrobatic best.

Boom! Caps United drew first blood, you guess who.. Mr. Goals through the legs of the Shortcat. Bang The Bomber with the reply! Then it was 2-1 Tauro again.. (I seek confirmation here).

Chipembere were soldiers and did not give up, Chidawa or Maronga dropped another bomb!.. 2-2. Then came another response from Caps United.. 3-2, that seemed to have clinched it. But AK Simon Mugabe had other ideas, a storming run down the wing, a cut in and who is there to bury home.. the handsome Sinyo Ndunduma!

They fought, they tried to out manoeuvre, outshine and even overpower each other but ultimately all good things come to an end! 3-3 it ended. As the fans departed Rufaro, they knew they had witnessed something special… A Thriller at Rufaro! For me the match of the decade, the 80’s!

Sadly for me in the replay Chipembere triumphed 2-1, it was another thriller.

I wish i could find the video, I will cherish it.

One love!!