By Mehluli Sibanda
Former Zimbabwe senior national team captain, Method Mwanjale, who announced his retirement from playing football last week, has only one regret throughout his career, that is not winning the league title with any of the six clubs he played for.
Mwanjale played locally for his home town team, Hwange, Shabanie Mine, Caps United, Mamelodi Sundowns, Mpumalanga Black Aces (both South Africa) and Simba Sports Club of Tanzania.
Despite a glittering career, which saw him being captain of Sundowns, Black Aces, Caps United and Simba, Mwanjale never felt how it is to lift the championship. Mwanjale, who is now turning his attention to coaching and football administration is hoping to win a league title one day as a coach.
“The saddest part of my football journey is not winning a league medal. I wish one day to win it as a coach because I didn’t achieve that as a player,’’ Mwanjale said.
If there is something Mwanjale would like to quickly forget, it is the Asiagate match-fixing saga, which saw him not being called up to the national team while he continued playing for Sundowns. This was after being barred by the Zimbabwe Football Association from taking part in all football related activities in 2012. He, however, was lucky to continue with his career in South Africa after Fifa refused to effect worldwide bans on him and other individuals. In 2015 Zifa lifted the life ban on Mwanjale and other players.
“The memories I would like to quickly forget is the Asiagate issue. That’s the saddest chapter of my playing career,’’ he said.
His most unforgettable moment is when he made his national team debut against Rwanda at the National Sports Stadium in September 2005 in a 2006 Fifa World Cup qualifier. Zimbabwe won that match 3-1.
“The most memorable moment in my career was my first game for the national team versus Rwanda at the National Sports Stadium. That marked my arrival into the world of football. I am very grateful to the coaches by then Mhlauri assisted by (Moses) Chunga if not mistaken. I am thankful to them for showing confidence in me. Thanks to my family for supporting me throughout my career,’’ he said.
Mwanjale’s desire is to contribute as a coach at Caps United and if Makepekepe do not have a role for him, he has no issues moving to another team.
“I just announced my retirement then venturing into coaching full time. I am not sure if Caps will afford me the opportunity to coach but that is my wish. I am still part of Caps though I am not sure in what capacity, so it’s up to the team to decide what they want to do with me. If Caps doesn’t take me on board, then any other team is free to do so,’’ Mwanjale said.
The Hwange-born Mwanjale has a coaching D licence from South Africa, Zifa level two and has just completed a sports management course with the University of Cape Town. Mwanjale started off his career at Rufaro Rovers, a Hwange side before he moved to Hwange Football Club. From Hwange he joined Shabanie Mine in 2004 then made the switch to Caps United two years later.
Mwanjale captained the Zimbabwe Warriors team that won the Cosafa Cup in 2009 and in 2010 joined Sundowns. Masandawana loaned him out to Black Aces in 2014. Mwanjale returned home in 2015 and joined Caps United but did not stay long at the Green Machine before he left for Simba. He joined Caps United for the third time in 2018.
Mwanjale in October 2019 suffered a season ending ankle injury against Hwange at the National Sports Stadium and that was the last time he played competitive football. Caps United won that match against Hwange 3-1 but went on to lose the league title to FC Platinum on the last day of action that season. As he retires and ventures into coaching, Mwanjale has said sorry to some of his former coaches who had to deal with his “stubbornness” over the years.
“To all the coaches I have worked with thank you very much for imparting the knowledge in me, on a lighter note I know I used to be a stubborn boy/player when growing up, I know I gave some of the coaches a torrid time, sorry to all of you.”
For years, Mwanjale was known as Mwanjali but the now retired footballer stated that his correct surname is Mwanjale, which is his mother’s family name. His mother is originally from Tanzania, his father is Zimbabwean and he was raised by his mother’s family which is based in Hwange. The Sunday News