By Albert Marufu
Former Kaizer Chiefs, Fire Batteries and Zimbabwe Under-23 football team midfielder Mike “Dutchman” Maringa is currently under the weather and recovering at his home in Hemel Hempstead, England, after a four- month stay in hospital.
Maringa is suffering from a knee infection and had to undergo an operation at Watford Hospital where he was admitted from October last year to early this month.
Maringa told The Herald at the weekend that he feels much better and is grateful for the support he is receiving from Zimbabwean football legends based in the United Kingdom through the Zimbabwe Former Footballers & Friends UK.
“I have had problems with my knee for a long time. It became worse one day in October and I decided to go to the hospital. They did their test and discovered that I had a dead tissue in my knee and it had been infected. I ended up staying in hospital until early January. I am grateful of the support that I am receiving from former players in the United Kingdom,” he said.
Handing over £280 raised by the Zimbabwe Former Footballers & Friends (UK), respective chairperson and vice chairperson Memory Mucherahowa and Joe “Kode” Mugabe said former players have to be united as there is no one to cater for them.
“We had to organise ourselves and come up with something for one of our own who is not feeling well. Former players have been neglected. They are a laughing stock and people, including former clubs, do not want to help.
“This is so sad. During our playing days we used to fill up stadiums and our teams also used to play in trophies such as the Independence Day Trophy or Heroes Day Trophy for free. People now look at us and laugh. This is sad. As former players, we have come up with this organisation and we self-fund to help each other.”
Mugabe said they are grateful to everyone who made the contributions.
“We know how hard it is in this country if you are not feeling well. Everything stops. He (Maringa) is one of us. We played against each other since we were juniors back in Zimbabwe. I would like to thank all those who contributed. We have to look after one another,” he said.
Maringa started his career under the tutelage of former Dynamos coach Lloyd “Mablanyo” Chigowe in Mbare.
He then tried his luck at Dynamos and was in the same team with Vitalis Takawira. He, however, left and joined Fire Batteries before being loaned to Darryn T.
In 1992 he teamed-up with George Charambarara and Lewis Kutinyu to help Fire Batteries gain promotion to the Premiership.
In 1994, the former Young Warriors midfielder then joined the star-studded Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa that had the likes of Doctor Khumalo, Lucas Radebe, Wedson Nyirenda, Thabo Mooki, Brian Baloyi and former Bafana Bafana captain Neil Tovey.
Most Amakhosi fans will remember his last minute strike against Mamelodi Sundowns in the 1994 BP Top 8 Cup.
With the match seemingly headed for extra-time with the teams tied at 2-2, Maringa won the cup for Chiefs with the last-minute winner.
Sundowns were featuring top players such as the late Phil Masinga, Sizwe Motaung and Ernest Chilwali.
An injury curtailed the young man’s journey and in 1996, he joined Shepherd Murape at Real Rovers.
In 1998 he retraced his roots to Fire Batteries who were in Division Two.
He then left for the United Kingdom in 2001 and has been staying here for the past 18 years. The Herald