Barely two minutes into the league match between Chapungu and CAPS United at Ascot, on October 19, 2003, Phillip Marufu sliced his way past a cluster of defenders.
Then, he drilled the ball beyond goalkeeper Witness Munkuli.
Marufu dashed towards the bench and lifted his jersey, to reveal a T-shirt, hidden inside.
“A goal for Tafadzwa,” read the message, on the T-shirt.
For him, it was about celebrating the joy of being a first-time father.
Little Tafadzwa had arrived five days prior to the tie.
Little did he know 17 years down the line, Tafadzwa’s career would be beginning to blossom.
Tafadzwa is now on the cusp of donning the same yellow-and-blue strip lifted by his dad, and most likely the jersey No. 14, and walk his dad’s path.
This is the story of the Warriors striker who, apart from turning out for Chapungu, Dynamos and Black Rhinos, also had a stint at Democratic Republic of Congo’s FC Saint-Éloi Lupopo.
With the 2009 COSAFA Senior Men Challenge gold, a Linafoot silver and the 2006 Soccer Star first runner-up medal, Marufu’s career has gone the distance.
He has scored over 100 goals.
“It all starts in the mind, and then becomes a habit, of training your body,’’ he said.
“The secret is just to be a disciplinarian, on yourself, when it comes to training.
“I am here because of simply that and I hope my son masters that art as he develops into a player,” he told panafricanfootball.com.
When the late former Chapungu coach, Lovemore Nyabeza, plucked out Marufu, it probably never crossed his mind, that he had just picked gold.
Twenty years later, Chimudhudhudhu, Fidza or Baccosi, the array of nicknames acquired on the field, stands long and tall, as the airmen’s scoring legend, with 105 goals.
Add to that, he has an overall scorecard of 133 club goals in the 20 years of competitive play for four clubs — Chapungu, Dynamos, SC Lupopo and Black Rhinos.
His overall goals tally then rises to 141, when the eight goals from the Warriors nine caps, are factored in.
It could be a very rare feat in Zimbabwean football.
Resilience, hard work, passion and discipline kept him on the pitch and, as he turns 41 this August, it looks highly unlikely he will have enough energy in his tank, to keep on playing, and running.
After all, without his pace, he becomes a shadow of himsef.
“I have so many ups and downs but I have never let go of my resilience,’’ he said.
“Through hard work, passion, discipline and attention to diet, I have fought many battles.
“Some of my battles have been won in a foreign land in DRC for SC Lupopo.
“As a player I have been there when the team won, and when it lost, but my time here has been positive.
“We might not have won any lucrative tournament, as a team, but our battles to prove our worth, have been won many times.
“We also had to fight as a team and had the privilege of playing together with some dedicated players, who even went on to win personal awards like “Marhino” (Maxwell Dube), Cuthbert Malajila all even the big Chapungu players one can think of.’’
A character, who never gave up, his biggest goal haul came in 2004, in the ZIFA Southern Region Division One League, under the late Benjamin Moyo.
He scored 28 goals, including two hat-tricks against Zimalloys and Matshiyakwakhiwe.
Then, it was a free-scoring Chapungu squad, with Dumisani Mufudze weighing in with 27 goals, incuding a hat-trick against Matshiyakwakhiwe.
The other deadly forwards were Abraham Mbaiwa, Mpumelelo Moyo, Welcome Mhlanga and Godfrey Mashayamombe.
It remains to be seen who will come closer, for Chapungu, in match the century of goals which Marufu scored for the airmen.
Who knows, perhaps Tafadzwa, the man who could step into his father’s shoes. — Panafricanfootball.com