Ex-Warriors striker Sgonondo takes up mining

28 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
Ex-Warriors striker Sgonondo takes up mining Simba “Sgonondo” Sithole

The Sunday News

Fungai Muderere

NOT all former football players have it easy when they retire.

Some are lucky, as they retire to go to coaching or work as pundits.

However, it is not that easy for everyone and a lot of former stars have gone on to less glamorous professions.

It would not be a wonder to see one of them, for example, settling as a refuse collector, painter, or decorator.

However, ex-Warriors, Highlanders and How Mine striker Simba Sithole, seems to have prayed and prepared for his life beyond the after-dinner circuit, after hanging his boots.

Sithole (34), a former Ajax Cape Town player, who now does duty for Zifa Southern Region Division

One side Casymn, has simply not chosen to subject himself to further madness in a coaching capacity after retirement, as he also doubles up as a shaft timber-man assistant at Casymn Mining Zimbabwe, which is now widely referred to as Turk Mine in Matabeleland North’s Bubi District.

The shaft timber-man’s role involves providing engineering maintenance, repairs and construction services in the shaft and station area.

“Yes, I do go underground. It is a job that also involves transporting heavy mining equipment. I learnt this job here at Casymn, the workers and the community have been helpful to me since my arrival from Mosi Rovers FC of Victoria Falls, last year. They are good people and this is not an easy job. I go for my mine job before I go for my football training sessions,” said Sithole, a father of four, Wayne, Olwethu, Wesley and Wayler.

He is married to Gladys Susan Silamu.

From Grade One to Four, Sithole went to Amasazwi Primary School in Pumula North.

It was after his parents passed on, that he moved to How Mine to further pursue his education up to Form Three.

“I was signed by Monomotapa when I was doing O-level at Mount Pleasant High, together with Russel Madamombe and Moses Muchenje in 2008. However, I wrote O-level at Pafiwa High School in Mutare.

I went to many schools,” said a man who grew up idolising ex-Warriors captain Benjani Mwaruwari and legendary Ivory Coast former striker Didier Drogba.

In the national team set up, Sithole, who is warmly known as S’gonondo (a concoction of opaque beer, chocolate flavoured milk and a brandy), said he was very close to former Hwange defender Eric Chipeta and the late imposing goalkeeper George Chigova.

Sithole and the late Chigova cut together their football teeth during their days at How Mine.

“Chigova was just like my little brother. We played street football together at How Mine. It is really painful that he left us at such a tender age,” said Sithole.

Chigova died last year.

At Premier Soccer League (PSL) club level, the soft-spoken Sithole was close to ex-Bosso midfielder King Nadolo and Simon Njeleza, a well-travelled ex-midfielder who is now into coaching.

Asked about his advice to fellow footballers, Sithole, who was part of the 2014 Warriors Chan squad, said: “To all footballers, especially those who are currently playing in the professional league, I will encourage them to remain focused on their talent and future.

“There is life after football and we can’t all be coaches or managers. So, it’s never too late to pursue other professions like boiler making and tailoring, among others. They should always remember there are always bills to pay and families to feed,” said Sithole, vowing that he will not retire from football soon and will not pursue football coaching when his time is finally up.

His is indeed a case of having his football peers guarding against the ultimate dilemma that they have to spend weekend after weekend running up and down the touchline, forgetting to pick up their man at the back post and giving the same interview answer about how “the boys just didn’t show enough today” and suddenly it’s all gone and you have got to decide what’s next?

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