RAHMAN WAS A GOOD MAN, FINE FOOTBALLER

Madinda Ndlovu

Special Correspondent

I HAVE known Rahman Gumbo from the late 1970s, when we clashed as opponents.

I was with the Highlanders juniors while he was with his family team called Njube United, which was presumably owned and coached by his football-loving father Peter ‘Sister’ Gumbo.

What makes me remember him is that he played in midfield and was above the rest in a team that had his brother, Charles Chunky Gumbo, a good defender-in-the making who however would not go far with the game.

I remember Chunky was guilty of inflicting two fractures on Nhamo Shambira. 

In our first encounter, must have been 1978-79, Shambira was a victim of Chunky’s physical game, after several months Shambira returned to action and, as fate would have it, in his return to action game, Chunky inflicted a fracture on Shambira.

Both brothers were good.

We stayed for years without meeting and never thought much about him. 

Back then there were so many talented players for one to take note of and he had gone off the radar until the mid-1980s, when he was now with Eagles, who had changed their name from Bulawayo Wanderers.

It was a very good Eagles side with some very good players like Richard Manda, Victor Moonsammy, Boy Ndlovu, Asani Karigeni, Obadiah Chiwetu, Charles Wadawu, Francis Paketh, Johannes Tshuma, Tanny Banda, Felix Ntuthu before Lucky Dube went to Harare. 

They were talented and deserved Super League football for the talent they had.

Rahman was played as a midfielder before he was pushed upfront to a second striker and acquitted himself well.

In 1987, he came to Highlanders intending to join at the beginning of the season. 

Things did not go well with Eagles not releasing him like the way they did with Elvis Chiweshe who ended up going to Dynamos while Rahman stuck around.

I remember the club dropping Amin Soma-Phiri at the Harare International Airport, now the RG International Airport, so as to accommodate Rahman. 

Highlanders had heard through the grapevine that the star midfielder, who had in 1985 and 1986 netted over 20 goals per season, was Harare-bound and decided to take him on a tour to Germany.

Alexander Maseko and myself were on our way to Kenya with the Zimbabwe senior national team and hence could not make it to Germany.

Rahman eventually came on board in 1988. 

After a quiet 1987, we were eager to retain our title as Cup Kings of Zimbabwe. 

He was a useful addition who added value to the team with his talent. 

It was just not an easy Bosso team to walk in, there was talent all over and coming into midfield, where we had a diamond formation with Willard Khumalo anchoring, Tito Paketh behind and Titus Majola on the right wing, he was slotted in several positions, behind strikers and on the left and at times as the top man.

There was fierce competition with Tanny Banda and myself on the wings, Nqobizitha, Soma-Phiri, Mpumelelo Dzowa, Ronny Jowa and Thoko Sithole, the coaches were spoilt for choice.

We would later be joined by Boy Ndlovu. 

The Eagles strike-force was now at Highlanders as we used to deliberately weaken teams that troubled us by getting their best. 

Rahman quickly became friends with Khumalo, Mercedes Sibanda and Sydney Zimunya. 

They were the tightest of buddies on and off the field. 

I went to Germany in 1989 and he went to Denmark.

We would re-unite in 1991 but he stayed briefly before moving to Cyprus but on his return we played together to win the 1993 league championship.

If my memory serves me right, I played with him in the Dream Team. 

Rahman was committed to everything he did and I am not surprised when he decided to fellowship at his wife’s church, he went for it full throttle.

During the Dream Team he continued to be tight friends with Khumalo and Rambo, anything he did his friends were around him and when it came to football, he gave it his all.

Rahman liked joking a lot. 

At times he would not care even if it hurt whoever he had picked on in jest.

l Madinda Ndlovu is a Zimbabwe football legend

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