By Noel Munzabwa
When Highlanders clinched the Easycall Cup by beating Chicken Inn 1-0 in the final at Barbourfields on December 13, 2015, something special was hidden from the celebrations.
Ralph Matema scored the only goal of the match in the 40th minute.
Due to the poor keeping of football statistics in this country many, including the player himself, missed the fact Matema had notched his 50th Bosso goal.
He joined some of the club’s legends like Mark Watson, Rahman Gumbo and Gift Lunga (Snr) to name but a notable few.
According to football statistician, Lawrence Maphosa, some of the players who have reached that mark for their clubs include Moses “Bambo” Chunga (Dynamos), Shacky Tauro (CAPS United), Maronga “The Bomber” Nyangela (Black Rhinos), Norman Nkomani (Amazulu) and Gilbert Zulu (Hwange).
The list also has Gift “Ghetto” Mpariwa (Dynamos), Phillip Marufu (Chapungu United), Leonard Tsipa (CAPS United), Max Makanza (Dynamos), Agent “Ajira” Sawu (Zimbabwe Saints), Albert Mbano (Lancashire Steel), Gift “Guava” Kamuriwo (Black Rhinos), Lloyd Hlahla (Masvingo United), Murape Murape and Norman Maroto (both Dynamos).
“To be honest, I don’t usually count my cumulative goals and was not even aware I was approaching the 100th goal mark simply because it is not celebrated here,’’ Matema, who turns 38 next month, said.
“That said, that will not change my focus to help my team fight for silverware.
“I drew most of my inspiration from my father who kept encouraging me, if anything I consider this as an honour I can comfortably dedicate to him.’’
He said he was on his way to Dynamos but ended up playing for Highlanders.
“My father was a Dynamos fan and I almost joined Dynamos but I don’t know what happened just before I joined Highlanders,’’ he said.
“I don’t know why the deal didn’t materialise. He (his father) supported my move to Bulawayo and this is probably why I enjoy playing against Dynamos.’’
Matema now finds himself just eight short of his century of goals.
He has scored 92 goals in league and cup games for Kambuzuma United, Highlanders and Yadah.
Matema’s Premiership goal count got off the mark with a brace on June 12, 2003 when Kambuzuma lost 2-5 to Black Rhinos in Harare.
Robson Chisango (brace), Lazarus Muhoni, Kamuriwo and Melody Wafawanaka were on target for the army side.
His first Bosso goal came in a 2-1 away win over Masvingo United at Mucheke on July 11, 2005.
Matema’s 49th goal came on November 22, 2015 at Barbourfields, when his opener earned Bosso a 2-1 win over Tsholotsho.
By the time he left Bosso, he has scored 61 goals for the Bulawayo giants. The Herald