By Grace Chingoma
Sunday Chidzambwa says he is considering coming out of retirement, for another dance in the trenches of football coaching, as he has been missing the game. The legendary coach turned 69 yesterday.
He says he has never felt this fitter, and inspired, and he was now looking at plunging into coaching again.
He retired in March last year, ending a 35-year adventure, which began in 1985, and transformed him into the most successful Zimbabwean football coach.
Yesterday he said God has been on his side, enabling him to spend half-a-century of his life, in the football.
His career as a player was ended prematurely when Rio Tinto magical midfielder, Joseph Zulu, clattered into him and broke his leg.
Yesterday, his children, who include celebrated local disk jockey, DJ Rimo, whose name is from the last four letters of the family’s other surname Marimo, brought him a cake, to celebrate the special day.
“Thank you The Herald, for the birthday message and for remembering me,’’ Chidzambwa said.
“Last year, CAF sent me a congratulatory message, but today they are yet to do so.
“God has blessed me and I am really grateful. I wish to be blessed with many more years but that can only be through His grace.
“I am still fit, l can even play a boozers match. I am looking forward to getting back into coaching soon.’’
Chidzambwa said his birthday wish to God was to have more time to enjoy many more blessed years.
His father, Ezekiel, passed away at the age 98, in 2019, while his mother Emma died in 1996.
His father was an ex-policeman who was very fit, and athletic, in his prime days.
The coach says a healthy lifestyle has helped him to remain fit.
“Exercising is very important. I don’t jog but I do walk, two to three kilometres, three times a week.
“I have minimised my alcohol intake with water becoming my favourite drink.’’
The coach says he doesn’t like hotel food and has to always suffered when in camp, with the Warriors and Dynamos, during tours.
“I don’t like hotel food but I was fortunate that, at big and longer tournaments like Africa Cup of Nations, we carry our own chef who prepare our dishes.
“I enjoy traditional dishes the most, with sadza nemufushwa, brown rice with peanut butter, mabhonzo, covo mixed with beef and fish, these are some of my favourite foods,” he said.
Commenting on how he has remained relevant, in the football trenches, when many of his colleagues have faded away, Chidzambwa said his dedication has helped him in a big way.
“I think it is destiny, I chose football, I am passionate about the game and I thank God for all the achievements,’’ he said.
Chidzambwa has scored many firsts, in his long career, which include being the first Warriors skipper, on April 18, 1980, when Zimbabwe celebrated her independence, with a 2-1 emotional win against Zambia. The Warriors won the Four Nations Independence Cup with Chidzambwa as their captain.
He also became the first, and only coach, to guide a local team to the final of the CAF Champions League.
Having led his Glamour Boys, to regain their league championship, in 1997, he took them a step further, on the continent.
His fearless team kept defying the odds, until they reached the final, where they lost to ASEC Mimosas, in controversial fashion.
This meant they had bettered the achievements of Blackpool, who reached the semi-finals, of the CAF Cup Winners Cup, three years earlier.
But, Chidzambwa was not finished and in 2003, he guided the Warriors to the Promised Land.
Under his guidance, Zimbabwe qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations finals, for the first time, in the country’s history.
So far, he is the only coach to have taken the Warriors to the AFCON finals twice, after he led them to the same tournament, in 2019.
Following his retirement, former Warriors skipper, Peter Ndlovu, appealed to the football authorities to honour him by building a statue.
The Warriors legend said he would not have achieved so much, for his country, had he not found a partner like Chidzambwa, who understood him well. The Herald