By Tadious Manyepo
Former Harare City captain Tendai Samanja says his decision to join the municipal club ahead of Premiership football champions FC Platinum was influenced by his desire to remain in the capital.
Premiership teams scrambled for his signature after the midfielder made it on the 2014 Soccer Star of the Year calendar with FC Platinum leading the race to land him.
But Harare City offered an equally impressive package for the 2008 league winner with Monomotapa who then decided to sign for them.
“I was playing for CAPS United and I decided not to renew my contract with them as I wanted a new challenge,” Samanja said.
“I was among the soccer stars for the 2013 season and several clubs approached me with a view to sign me.
“FC Platinum were so tempting. I like that team naturally but closer to me, Harare City, which I also admired made a move.
“I considered a lot of things and then decided to join Harare City.”
His stay at the municipality team was punctuated by the team’s dominance of the Chibuku Super Cup which they won twice while finishing as runners-up as many times in five years.
“Not barring several possible opportunities which I might have been exposed to had I gone on to sign for FC Platinum, I should say, I don’t have any regrets.
“I had a fruitful stay at Harare City though there were some ups and downs as is natural with football.” While he independently opted to sign for Harare City instead of the Zvishavane miners, Samanja’s decision to hang his boots when he was hardly 33, some two years ago, was a forced one.
Samanja wanted to play on for at least five more years but his then coach Mark Harrison insisted he enrols for coaching courses.
Although at first Harrison’s pressure didn’t sit down well with him, Samanja eventually accepted the Briton’s advice.
“You know being approached by your coach and he proposes you leave the playing field while you are still feeling strong enough is something upsetting.
“I didn’t want to quit football but then, Harrison took his time to sit me down.
“He said you see, in one or two years’ time, you won’t be as good as you are at the moment.
“He said you have been my captain and your leadership qualities will help you a great deal in your coaching enterprise. I begrudgingly accepted to hang up my boots and started pursuing coaching.” Two years on, Harrison is no longer at Harare City and Samanja is an assistant coach for the team’s feeder club, Harare City Cubs, which plays in the Northern Region Division One. The Herald