The Sunday News
This week Sunday Life (SL) caught up with one of the first black guys to star in hockey after Independence Fidelis Majuba (FM), now a prominent Zimbabwe coach in the sport. The Falcon College teacher who also coaches the school’s basketball sides spoke about his hockey journey.
Name: Fidelis Majuba
Date of Birth: 3 November 1969
Place of Birth: Bulawayo
SL: Good afternoon Fidelis Majuba, you were among the first blacks to take up hockey, when did you start playing the sport?
FM: I started playing hockey at Baines Junior School in 1981. I got promoted to the senior team after two matches.
SL: What was the attraction?
FM: I joined hockey by accident. At the time I was a soccer player having come from a Group B school. It was one late afternoon while waiting for my friend, the late Richmond Maplanka to finish his hockey practice that I ended up being called to join the school hockey team. The coach caught me trying to communicate with Richmond during the session and gave me a tongue lashing on why I was interrupting his practice session. My response was that I wanted to find out how I could join hockey. And that was it.
SNL: Who were the big names back then in the sport?
FM: I played for Queens Sports Club from 1989 to 1992. During that period Queens won the national league championship four years in a row. I played with the likes of Andy Bint, Mark and Dean Kendalball. Mark Wynes, Mark Davis and Jeff Fenwick too. At the time Kudzanai Shoko from BAC had been the first black player to play for Zimbabwe. Charles Marizani was the first black player for Queens and Matabeleland. One of the first black players I played against for a long time and has since become a family friend was Louis Mnyama. He was the first black player at Old Hararians Sports Club.
SL: It was soon after Independence, any race issues encountered?
FM: To be honest I never directly encountered any racial issues but it is possible that there were a few individuals who could have been homophobic/prejudiced.
SL: When did you break into club hockey? How did the move come about and what position did you play?
FM: I first played for Bulawayo Sports Club in 1986. I was discovered by the Milton High School coach Jerry Sullivan. I would then join Queens three years later.
SL: Any notable achievements at club level?
FM: Four times I was a national champion at club level. I won the Matabeleland Cup and the league five times. I started coaching Northlea High School in 1993 in my first year in teaching. I was forced to stop playing after suffering a cartilage knee injury in 1993 after I had been called up to the national team that was preparing for the 1995 All-Africa Games. Sadly I could not get an opportunity to represent my country as a player. I was forced to take club coaching in 1997 after doing umpiring for three years.
SL: Who was your inspiration?
FM: The person who inspired me to take coaching was the former national team captain and coach Des Van Jaarsvelt.
SL: Any inter-provincial and Easter Jardav titles?
FM: I was part of the successful Matabeleland sides in the inter-provincial tournaments in 1991 and 1992. I only played one Easter Jardav tournament in 1992.
SNL: What have been your successes as a coach?
FM: I have had numerous achievements as a coach at Falcon College who I joined in 2005. I attained five inter-city trophies before the tournament was stopped in 2013. A new tournament was introduced in 2010, the Super 12 which is hosted at the end of the school season pitting the country’s top 12 hockey schools and out of the 10 played so far, Falcon College has won eight, five years in a row from 2015 to 2019. We are ranked as the country’s number one hockey school among boys in Zimbabwe. I have coached at Under-16 and 18 at national team level. I coached the Under-17 national Olympic team at the 2010 qualifiers and Under-21s in the Africa Junior Cup in 2011. I am currently coaching the Under-21 side that is preparing for the World Cup qualifiers which will be held in Ghana in September. I was Coach of the Year 2018 and 2019 and had the honour of being handed the gong by Eugene Loffie Eloff the 2014 Lions Ruby Director and Junior Springboks Director.
SL: Thank you for your time Majuba, keep going.
FM: You are welcome.