Down memory lane

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By Fidelis Manyange

BORN and bred in Dzivaresekwa High Density Suburb, Point Kanyongo, known in the football fraternity as Jah B, started playing football in the early 1980s when he was doing his primary education at Gombo Primary School.

He played in the first team against players from fellow primary schools like Nhamburiko, Gillingham, Dzivaresekwa 4 and 5, among others.

It was when Kanyongo was doing his ‘O’-Levels at Dzivaresekwa High 2 when Tornados FC juniors coach noticed his talent and took him on board.

Tornados were using Dzivaresekwa Stadium as its home-ground.

The late former President Canaan Banana was the patron of Tornados juniors and seniors.

When he left Tornadoes, Kanyongo joined the Msasa-based ZIMPHOS which was in Division 2 and was coached by former Dynamos player Isaac Nhema.

After having a short stint with ZIMPHOS Kanyongo moved to the Mbare side, Beinstein FC, in which he played alongside well-known players like Trouble Seremani, Elias Zengeni, Nick Wright and Benson Fundisi.

The team’s home ground was Number 5 ground near George Stark and they also used Stodart as their training ground.

The talented Defender then joined the Air Force side team Blue Swallows which was coached by the late Lovemore Nyabeza.

It was at the Manyame-based side that he met fellow players like John Nyikadzino, who is now coaching Chapungu FC, Funny Wright, Stuart Muparutsa, Moses Chasweka and John Chikwinya, among others.

He was playing left back.

Kanyongo later joined the Division One ZRP, Bindura, playing alongside prominent players like Kingston Rinemhota and Cosmas Chimwaza. His performance at the police side saw him going to Mutare to play for the Penhalonga-based Redwing Mine FC which was in Division One.

The mine team was coached by former Dynamos player Misheck Marimo where they used to play teams such as Scissors Blade, ZUPCO (Mutare) and others in Northern Region.

The goalkeeper of the team was Amon Chimbalanga who later left the team for Highlanders after he was scouted by the team’s bench when Redwing went to Bulawayo to play in the Peter Ndlovu Under-19 tournament at Barbourfields Stadium. 

Kanyongo watched the game from the terraces as he was past the required age. It was at that tournament that fellow player Anderson Phiri was also sported by Caps United and eventually left the mining team for the Manchester Road Boys.

When Misheck Marimo decided to move to Scissors Blades FC as a coach, he took several players with him, Kanyongo included.

He stayed with William Chari, a fellow player, in the same room. Chari and his brother Henry are prominent footballers who made headlines during their heyday. The team’s home-ground was Sakubva.

The incident which ended Kanyongo’s football career while at Scissors Blade happened when the team was playing Tanganda at Sakubva Stadium under floodlights when Mavhuna Mudare gave him a deadly tackle which resulted in a permanent knee injury.

During his playing days, Kanyongo used to envy and fear Vitalis Takawira as a dribbling wizard.

He used to give him torrid times as a defender. “Vhita ainzvenga mukuru wangu zvekuti aiti akauya akandinaga ndaikungura kutiza ndichitya kunyadziswa” said Kanyongo.

“Other players I used to l0ok up to are the likes of Derby Mankinka, the late, and one Mandla Balanda of Highladers.”

Asked about the problems and solutions to our local football, Kanyongo said:

“Unlike during our playing days, present players are not as committed as we were. More than money, we followed and were driven by passion.

We respected our fans and coaches, religiously we trained to be in our best condition.

“Sporting facilities and spaces are scarce and those available are dilapidated, derelict or converted to other uses, like building houses and commercial facilities. Back in the day these things were prioritised”.

Point Kanyongo, aka Jah B, is currently into brick laying, welding and tyre mending. 

He resides in Epworth.

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