By Tadious Manyepo
His surname is one of the nicknames of CAPS United but Godfrey Kepekepe, a banker and football administrator, isn’t part of the Green Machine family.
In fact, he is a big fan of the Green Machine’s biggest rivals, Dynamos, and even had a stint with the Glamour Boys’ junior teams.
Some of his teammates in those junior teams, Murape Murape and Desmond Maringwa, went on to transform themselves into legends at the Glamour Boys.
Maringwa is the only Glamour Boy to feature in the final of the CAF Champions League in 1998 and also play a part in the club’s adventure to reach the semi-finals of the same tournament 10 years later.
Murape became one of the club’s longest serving sons and rose to captain the Glamour Boys and also guided the club as an assistant coach.
Kepekepe doesn’t know whether his football journey would have taken him that far, had he not decided to concentrate on his studies, which saw him secure a job with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
But, such is his passion to try and make a difference in the game that he ended up becoming a football administrator.
Today, he is part of the executive committee which runs a club in the ZIFA Northern Region Division One.
His name, though, stands out.
Many mistake his surname for a nickname, associating him with the Green Machine, but he has always been a member of the Glamour Boys family.
Maybe, given he grew up in Mbare, and his late father always took him to Rufaro to watch DeMbare, the love affair with the country’s biggest, and most successful football club, was always certain.
“I grew up in Mbare and I support Dynamos. Yes, a Kepekepe who supports DeMbare,” he told The Herald yesterday.
“My late father supported Dynamos and used to take me to Rufaro to watch the Dynamos matches.
“I also had a fling with the Dynamos juniors. My passion and love with the Glamour Boys goes a long way and is deep rooted.
“It never occurred in me, to think that because my name is Kepekepe, it means I should support them.
“My father would take me to every Dynamos match at Rufaro it never really crossed our minds that our surname was related to CAPS United and, therefore, we should support Kepekepe.”
His love for football led him to become an administrator in the game as one of the leaders at ZIFA Northern Region Division One side, Black Tigers.
“I am not just a Dynamos fan, I have grown as a football person to be one of the stakeholders at Northern Region Division One outfit, Black Tigers,” he said.
“My love for the game is huge and I thought I should get directly involved in football administration.”
Kepekepe, who is the club’s treasurer, said Black Tigers will be a talent hub in the not-so-distant future.
“The vision of the club is to be a hub of talent by giving players a platform to grow and realise their potential,” he said.
“We do this through proper football training as well as imparting some life skills.
“This all is achieved by recruitment, development, hard work, competition and dedication to continuous improvement.”
The club have appointed former Dynamos coach Lloyd “MaBlanyo” Chigowe at the helm of their technical department.
Like Kepekepe, Chigowe, who had a turbulent and unsuccessful time as the Glamour Boys head coach before being fired, also grew up in Mbare.
Other members of the Black Tigers technical team are Warren Mapanga, Watson Sarupinda and Kenneth Nagoli.
Nagoli’s name has been trending on social media, of late, after an article in this newspaper last week questioned how his natural talent, as a footballer, didn’t earn him regular slots in the Dream Team.
“Bra Jomo (South African football legend Jomo Sono) rates him as the best player he watched playing football,” former Warriors goalkeeper Tapuwa Kapini said on Twitter.
“He nicknamed him ‘Hot Knife’.”
Chigowe lasted less than six months as Dynamos head coach, saving the Glamour Boys from relegation in 2018, before failing to cope with the demands of the job early last year.
He was eventually replaced by Tonderai Ndiraya but his abilities as a development coach is beyond any doubt.
He played a big part in moulding a number of players who went on to make it to the top, including Chamu Musanhu, Murape and Ndiraya among others.
And with that Dynamos background, it isn’t surprising why Kepekepe settled for the former journalist.
“Our club is a home for those players who are hungry to take their career seriously and we provide that conducive environment, for them to flourish,” Kepekepe said.
“That, in part, explains why we settled for a tried-and-tested junior development coach, Chigowe.
“The recruitment has not only zeroed in on Harare but around the country.
“We have youngsters from Kwekwe, Mutare and Bindura.
“For us to continue to provide this competitive environment, for players, we obviously have to avoid relegation.
“This is one of our primary goal each and every season.
“Our philosophy is to compete fairly, it’s not every game that we will win but. it’s certain we will learn from every game.
“After achieving our vision in the next three years then we will build on that for PSL promotion.”
Kepekepe hinted that Black Tigers will be having a change of name as soon as restrictions enforced due to the coronavirus outbreak are lifted.
The new owners of the team acquired the side from its previous shareholders late last year.
“We are in the process of rebranding which will involve a name change,” he said.
“This, however, has been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic enforced lockdown.
“We hope when the season finally starts, we will have finished all the modalities and will advise as per ZIFA Northern Region Soccer League regulations”.
His club will be partnering secondary schools in high-density suburbs as part of their master plan to have an efficient academy system which encompasses Under-15 and Under-17 teams. The Herald