Robson Sharuko


FORTY years ago, football in Mashonaland West celebrated its Finest Hour when one of their own, Ephert Lungu, was crowned Soccer Star of the Year.

He remains the only footballer from this province to scoop the prestigious individual prize in its 54-year history.

It came very close to a double celebration for the province but Lungu’s club, Rio Tinto, saw their quest for a maiden league championship being ended in cruel fashion.

They finished with the same number of points (36) as serial champions Dynamos, then the most dominant club on the scene, but lost out on goal difference.

But, the football gods can’t keep a good province down forever.

Last Saturday, Ngezi Platinum Stars became the first club from Mashonaland West to win the domestic Premiership title.

They did so in style, winning it with two games to spare, after a 2-1 win over Simba Bhora at their Baobab fortress.

Somehow, the football gods had to ensure that, should a club from Mashonaland West win the league championship, it had to come in a year that also ends with the number THREE.

It was another year, which ended with the number THREE (1983), when Rio Tinto came tantalisingly close to being crowned champions.

On Saturday, another Mashonaland West club, Chegutu Pirates, could move within touching distance of a place in the domestic Premiership.

All that Zaire need is victory over Black Mambas, at Pfupajena, which will move them top of the table, with a point advantage, with just a game to be played.

That will be the closet the club, which was formed in 1981 amid the euphoria which greeted the country’s Independence, have come to winning a ticket into the Premier League.

They are probably the most in-form team in the country’s five top leagues with SIX out of SIX wins in what has been a relentless pursuit for glory.

It has helped them eat into what was a seven-point deficit, at the start of last month, to leave them primed to pounce at the Mambas and take control of the race.

“Dzinza is the team with the loudest supporters after Highlanders,” said Chimusoro “Sancho” Zamorano, a football commentator from Kadoma.

“Produced many players who include Jani and Moses Milanzi, Yusuf “Tsuro” Sabiti, Stanley “Matemba” Banda, Jacob “Chidhumo” Mavunga, Eric “Disco” Banda, Conrad Tazviona Nyambabvu, Ernest Gava, Genke, Simba “Madhinye” Domingo and many more.”

If there is a question, then it is about how this farming and mining town will react in the event their dream fades away in their backyard?

 Will there be a violent reaction at a club which has been known for its flirtation with hooliganism, in the past, leading to them being punished?

It’s something the people of Chegutu don’t want to talk about right now.

All their focus, they say, is on their Finest Hour.

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