It’s an explosive subject, in Zimbabwean football and, whenever this debate comes along, it sparks divisions and exposes the fault-lines that run deep in this fraternity.
An article, celebrating Moses Chunga’s iconic status as a domestic football superstar published in this newspaper on Saturday, has once again sparked an explosive, divisive, and bitter age-old dispute about who is the GOAT in Zimbabwean football.
It has again brought to the surface the fiery battles, usually fought on WhatsApp groups, and shows this subject remains as sensitive today as it was when it first exploded years ago.
Twitter has been transformed into a battle ground of opposing forces, all proudly united in their identity as Zimbabweans, but divided in their choice as who should be knighted as the GOAT.
The explosive debate also shows divisions still run deep, on the domestic football front, when it comes to Chunga and Peter Ndlovu, and the subject still triggers a wave of raw emotions and deeply divides the local game’s family.
The emotions have been so raw one respondent even accused the blogger, Herald Senior Sports Editor Robson Sharuko, of allegedly having been paid to boost the argument Peter Ndlovu is the greatest Zimbabwean footballer of all-time.
While acknowledging, and celebrating Chunga’s status, as an iconic Zimbabwean football superstar, Sharuko said he still believed the Flying Elephant was the GOAT, when it comes to local footballers.
“My choice here is widely known, it doesn’t mean I’m right, and I respect the choice of those who think otherwise because that’s the beauty of both opinion and democracy,’’ he wrote in his weekly column, “Sharuko On Saturday.”
“My little book still has the Flying Elephant up there, on his secluded island, as the best of the local lot, but that doesn’t mean my choice is the perfect one and everyone should be forced to sing that Peter is, indeed, the King.’’
However, there are many who believe Chunga remains their greatest and here are some of the reactions from the readers of this newspaper who have been flooding Twitter with scores of responses since the article first appeared on Saturday:
“You left out the point that in the Zim vs Malawi game (‘92 AFCON qualifier) Moses Chunga brought the brilliance in Peter. Such was the artistry of Moses that he played so well that he made his playmates great as well. Good, lyrically sound article but does no justice to Moses Chunga.’’
“Peter was best guys. Best player is holistic (skills; speed; discipline; achievements etc)
“Peter remains the best ever. Sublime talent coupled with lightning speed. Hail King Peter. The GOAT.’’
“To me, the fact that Peter Ndlovu made it to Coventry City at 17 and made it in the first 11 is still unmatched by Africans in general. That just makes him beat Chunga, for me. The guy was compared to George Best guys in England.’’
“It’s a great piece that answers the many mysteries of a fable legend for some of us. Chunga has a sequel in management that is just as fascinating, his Dynamos Kidznet side, his Shabane side as well, his interviews just as controversial.
“Thoroughly enjoyed this one, the parallels to likes of Cantona are on point, he is from a generation whose fading ambers I barely witnessed but there is that one moment that stays with you and, for me, it was a floated pass to Peter Ndlovu, who duly obliged with a goal.
“I honestly don’t recall the significance of the match itself (‘92 AFCON qualifier) because I was still quite young, but as I grew older I always felt it was a symbolic passing of the guard to the next great.’’
“The maestro (Chunga). The greatest I had the privilege to watch!’’
“One of only three Zimbabwean football legends, the other two were Mhofu and Peter. Peter’s body of work, discipline and commitment to the national cause makes him a clear GOAT.’’
“Apa mukoma Rob you didn’t write the way you write about CAPS Utd legends, the so-called legends like (Joel) Shambo, (Shacky) Tauro but those guys were not even half of Moze but you wrote like you were writing about an ordinary player, you can say whatever but (Chunga) is still the most gifted player from Zim.’’
“Peter Ndlovu remains the King, without fear or favour. Unless if your analysis is based on the fact that your blood is “blue and white.” But facts are stubborn. Peter is the King, rest follow, including Razorman.’’
“I remember going to Barbourfields as a young boy and looking at the Dynamos line-up and hoping that Chunga was injured. But Peter was good, my vote always goes with Peter for best Zim player.’’
“That’s your Mario Balletoli gents (Chunga), talent without discipline is futile. Peter is King in Zim football.’’
“Peter Nsukuzonke Ndlovu was the King, lest we forget.’’
“Which discipline? Peter one of the greatest . . . but which discipline are you talking about? Did Maradona have discipline? Opinions . . . everyone has got one according to legendary rocker Mick Jagger, I could not agree more, some like Messi, some like CR7.’’
“Thanks to my father, I had the opportunity almost weekly to watch this young, lazy-looking, man with his hair looking like it had never seen a comb. Languid without the ball, explosive with it, iconic number seven on his back. The sight of him made me sick with nervousness as a CAPS fan.’’
“The way (Chunga) is being idolised shows how great he was, it’s a pity for my generation that we did not get the chance to witness such a classy (player).’’
“Moses Chunga is the greatest Zimbabwean player of all time, period.’’
“Enjoyed this one, thanks for reliving the memories. In my vocabulary though, I say Peter was the “professional footballer,” Bambo was football personified! I am a Bambo fan!’’
“I saw the greatness of Moses during the Zim-Malawi game when he was fully in charge of the midfield as playmaker from deep. What a genius! Problem is that he matured late for the national team and injuries blighted his career when Zim needed him.’’
Zenda Tendai Kutsime
“My argument stands, Peter and Moses are two great and different footballers to compare. Chunga did not have discipline in the ground like Peter but that did not take away the football gift he had.’’
“Watched Chunga only a few times, he was good but from what I watched Peter do, he is the best for me. Another thing to consider is their positions of course.’’
“Great piece Rob . . . Nsukuzonke still rules.’’
Kevin M Saungweme
“Honestly you can’t claim Peter was better than Moses Chunga. That’s a serious insult to normal football fans and a blatant distortion of Zimbabwean football. Obviously, you have been paid to spread this lie. Moses Chunga is incomparable. The correct hierarchy of Zimbabwean football should stand like this 1) Moses Chunga 2) George Shaya 3) Peter Ndlovu.’’ The Herald