By Lovemore Dube
A five-goal haul was all Edmund “Mazondo” Pfende needed to prove to the Dynamos FC leadership that he had come of time in 1965 to be elevated to the first team.
A place in the final matchday 13 was not easy as there was so much talent and having to contend with George Shaya, Jimmy Finch, David George and Freddy Mukwesha for an attacking role then was like walking on an acid dump bare-footed.
“There was so much talent at Dynamos. For almost four years I toiled in the club’s Under-20 side hoping for a break. You would not fault anyone for missing out because the club was very competitive and on top of its game. We were winning silverware and as a junior I had to bid my time,” said Pfende.
His time would eventually come. There was to be a match between the Rhodesia Under-20 against Zambia.
“I was drafted into the All-Black side which played a friendly trial match against an All-White Select and I scored five goals.
“The elders at the club were so happy that I was immediately promoted to the first team and I began rubbing shoulders in the side with the likes of Finch, Shaya and Mukwesha before he left for Portugal.
“Two players impressed during the Under-20 game, myself and a white guy, I’m not sure whether he was Kenny or Kelly, time has taken its toll, there was a ‘don’t touch tag’ on us,” said Pfende.
He would eventually earn his international debut weeks later when the Zambians toured and were beaten by a similar margin of 1-0 at Glamis Stadium and Gwanzura.
“I was on target at Glamis Stadium (Showgrounds) as my stock as a player grew,” said Pfende with a smile.
For Pfende the journey began at Mai Musodzi Hall in Mbare where he played for the Boys Youth Club side.
The youth clubs set up by the colonial government to keep youths at bay and occupied all the time are credited with producing most of the talent of the 1950-1990 talent. Boys played informally, putting lots of hours in the game before they could be identified for a structured development programme by youth coaches employed by local authorities or mining towns.
Pfende’s club had the likes of Charles Mahewu, David George and George “Mastermind” Shaya.
These clubs played among each other and at times in Pfende’s case they would travel as far as Amaveni in Kwekwe to play the boys from there.
Among the feared clubs in Harare back then was Stodart Hall who exerted better competition than the likes of Mabvuku and Mufakose with the likes of Peter Nyama and Ashton “Papa” Nyazika.
“They were recreational clubs, we hung around there and the only things that were there were sports and arts and if you loved football, you played so much of it that you eventually improved.
“There were role models among peers and of course legends like Dusty King whom we all wanted to be like,” said Pfende.
He recalls the formation of Dynamos who got most of their players from clubs like Salisbury City and United. These teams played in the Federation and there was a sudden urge for an All-Black side and Dynamos were formed as a protest against white supremacy.
Only coloureds and blacks were accommodated at the club with among the first players Benard Marriot, Josiah Akende, Obadiah Sarupinda, Allan Hlatshwayo, Alois Mesikano and Morrison Sifelani.
Shaya and the likes of Mukwesha would join later with the latter coming from Mhondoro Stars.
Nationalism, he contends, played a part in the formation of the club and in 1963 at the formation of the first multi-racial league Dynamos found themselves playing against teams like Umtali, Arcadia, Tornados, Mangula and Rio Tinto.
“That was football at its best that fans were treated to. The football was very entertaining and worth every cent fans paid. Winning was all the motivation we needed as we played real football,” said Pfende.
He went to Salisbury Secondary School for his schooling up to Form Two and later moved to Mazowe where the whole school was fired for a food boycott.
Luckily the former St Mary’s in Seke pupil found a place at Salisbury Secondary School and was able to continue with his schooling.
He passed his O-levels with a first class and was therefore good enough to proceed to Fletcher High School.
Fletcher was then known as a fierce competitor with the terrible trio of Gibson Homela, William Sibanda and Aleck Mwanza who all had been assisted to join Zimbabwe Saints by Herbert Ushewokunze in 1963.
“These were brilliant footballers. I was happy to join them in 1966 and Sifelani would offer to come and pick me up from school for Dynamos matches. You know as a youngster at times I would hide just to go and drink beer with friends,” he said.
He mentioned that the Fletcher High School team destroyed everything before it.
“We played top footballing schools like Founders, Goromonzi and Mlezu and we came out tops. Founders had a great number of guys who went on to play for Arcadia.
“I forgot to mention that we had at the heart of the Fletcher defence another of the famous Chieza brothers, Edgar who I would later play with briefly at Dynamos when we proceeded to university,” said the former Dynamos right winger.
In 1968 Pfende enrolled at the University of Rhodesia for a Sociology Degree with Human Resources as his major discipline. His dance continued with Dynamos with the likes of Ernest Kamba and a host of others who had come on board between 1966 and that year.
But he found the football bit too hectic and affecting his studies and decided to eventually quit.
“We would run from Rufaro Stadium to Showgrounds via Kopje and back to the stadium. By the time you got to the university you are dead tired and you can’t read. So I decided to pursue academics and on graduation I found a job at Hunyani Pulp then Rhodesia Pulp Company,” he said.
He was able to start a lower division side that would grow to beat teams like Arcadia in cup games.
In 1978 Pfende moved to Bulawayo, joining the National Railways of Zimbabwe as a human resources officer, working for the company up to 2006 when he retired with the position of senior industrial relations officer.
A divorcee with three children, Pfende is a Barcelona and Manchester United fan.
On how he got the nickname Mazondo, Pfende said his father, who was among the first members, conferred with honorary membership in the 1960s, sold fish and chips including cow hooves at Adbernie Hotel where Dynamos players camped and socialised after matches or training.
So teammates and fans decided to call him Mazondo.
Pfende believes George Shaya and William Sibanda are the best footballers to come out of Zimbabwe.
“They were sheer brilliant talent. They deserved more for their talent and could have played anywhere in the world given a chance, Mukwesha was another gem, but the two were above the rest. I am yet to see players so talented as the duo,” said Pfende.
He is worried about the free fall at Dynamos and believes it is about time reason prevailed over egos and the People’s Team is saved. Sunday News