The Sunday News
THE name Kenny Nyape has over the last 30 years been synonymous with illustrious athletes, some of whom are national record holders.
Nyape, a legendary sports coach who is quietly clawing back into the sport with Hwange Colliery Company, says more is coming to the fore through his tutelage.
“We are silently building a team that might take everyone by surprise next season,” said the veteran gaffer who has good cover in former athletes Tryson Shonayi, Temba Ncube, Gabriel Chikomo and Teurayi Chinguwa to work with in grooming the next generation.
Nyape has unfinished athletics business. After a number of successes with sprinters at national scale, Hwange Colliery in the quest of retaining its position as an athletics powerhouse like in the days of Riley Hawkins, Prize Ndlovu, Juma Phiri and Paul Chapita, engaged Nyape in 2007 as sports officer.
Hardly had he settled that the premier event for mines, the Chamber of Mines Championships collapsed and the economic down turn saw sporting activity scale down in most mines with just soccer kept afloat.
Nyape then moved to football where for most of the past decade he has been the just promoted Hwange FC’s physical fitness trainer. With an impressive list of athletes he coached at club and provincial level which includes the following Caroline Ncube, Temba Donga, Amkela Gwebu, Juma Phiri, Nigel Tom, Gugulethu Baleni, Ronald Chiwera, Tsangai Mumbengegwi, Temba Ncube, Benjamin Songoya, Norma Jean Harry, Gwen Barclay, Marvin Bonde, Nelton Ndebele, Phillip Mukomana, Chikomo, Garnett Dube, Elvis Muzamo and Tatenda Goronga, Nyape rates among the most successful coaches in the sport.
After being scandalously overlooked that saw him with the likes of other more successful coaches like Bhekuzulu Khumalo and James Rugwevera, Nyape turned his back on a sport that had seen him groom Southern Africa Championships, All-Africa Games, Commonwealth Games and Olympics athletes among them national record holders.
Lewis Banda an athlete he worked with through his days at Gifford and Milton High School became the first Zimbabwean to run a sub 45 seconds 400m when breaking the one lap record to 44.58 seconds a time that has stayed to this day from 2004.
Chiwira was part of the Zimbabwe team which broke the 4x400m relay in 1997. Caroline and Goronga dominated the 100 and 200m sprints at both junior and senior level from 1998 to 2005.
His Bulawayo Province and Matabeleland sprinters were dominant nationally for almost a decade 1996 to 2010 and hence found themselves in most national teams for international events.
Who is Kenny Nyape? He was born in Shurugwi on 9 January 1965. Nyape attended Ironside Primary School in the sporting town of Shurugwi whose Peak Mine Stadium hosting of major athletics ignited the athletics flame in him. It is where as a teenager he watched the likes of Dera and Boniface Magodo, Charles Gumbura, Kenias Tembo, Zephania, Glen Taute, Artwell Mandaza and many other yestergreats.
He played soccer at primary school level and was first choice goalkeeper at Grade Six.
At Form One he became first team goalkeeper in Shurugwi as the likes of legendary rightback James Takavada were completing secondary school education. Notably he was a sprinter from primary school through his Ihlathi Secondary School with qualifying for provincial finals at White City priced.
He moved to Ihlathi in the third term of Form One and came to live in a city where his cousins Isaac, Samuel, Emmanuel and Lancelot Riyano played football alongside legendary Tavaka Gumbo an uncle to him too.
After school Nyape joined Government Medicals Stores where he worked up to 2007. He was there at the formation of the ZRP Athletics Club in the late 1980s. He formed a superb relay team at the police side with now Zimbabwe Olympic Committee President Thabani Gonye, Enock Marisa and Fabian Muyaba.
“We also raced against a horse at Borrowdale Racecourse as the relay team over 400m,” said Nyape.
He took to coaching at an early age and is happy to have seen Chiwira, Alvin Mathobela, Harry, Muzamo, Bonde, Gwebu and Banda get scholarships and some to rise to national and international prominence.
Nyape holds a National Level One, IAAF Level One, Olympic Solidarity, IAAF Level Two and in 1998 was selected national team coach though at a later stage he was no longer there to see talent that he had started off with from the ground.
“I am also an elite academy coach having attended a course in Pretoria, South Africa in 2008,” said Nyape who did all courses under the IAAF education system.
Nyape is among many unsung heroes whose exploits on the track and pitches speak for themselves, a true modern legend deserving his colours among yesteryear greats.