Remember the trailblazing Shabane Mine class of 2001

14 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Remember the trailblazing  Shabane Mine class of 2001 Misheck Banda

The Sunday News

Lovemore Dube

GONE, but not forgotten, should probably read the epitaph of Shabanie Mine FC.
The 2001 BP League Cup winners and FA CUP finalists took Zimbabwe by storm that season in their first year in the Premiership.

The euphoria about their stay in the Premiership was as good as their entry with Thomas Makwasha and partner in crime Asani Juma hogging the limelight for brilliant goals and high combined tally.

But key to that was the team’s defence of Tichaona Mazanhi, Misheck Banda, Gerald Phiri, Sebastian Mawere, Gibson Majonda, Stephen Mbewe and goalkeeper Andrew Chisunga.

It was a typical mines’ team with foreign sprinkling in the playing resources.

Banda partnered rock solid centre backs Majonda and Warriors trialist Gerald Phiri.

Big, firm with aerial supremacy and above average on the ground and pace, Banda made the defence tick. He did not allow his teammates to be intimidated by big strikers of the day Eddie Dube and Mike Temwanjira.

His football story began at his birth in June of 1971 in the mining town of Gwanda.

He attended Jahunda Primary School and by the time of his first day at school, the town boasted of Ranz Nqadini,

Mactavish Dube and one Muriyengwe as cult heroes for Gwanda Ramblers. The pride of AmaJahunda plied its trade in the South Zone Soccer League.

Banda proceeded to Gwanda High School and at that time he was good enough to arouse interest from Division Two clubs because of his brilliance and imposing physique.

The nearly 1,9m tall star joined Freda Mine in 1990 where he heaps praise on former Eagles, Fredda Mine, Hwange and Highlanders goalkeeper Johannes Tshuma and unsung hero Chris Ndiweni.

“They identified my talent and helped me into the team,” said Banda.

He started off as a right back and would be at times play at defensive link.

“I was then turned into a central defender. In 1996 I left Fredda Mine to play for Sabi Mine in the Zifa Southern

Region Division One. I stayed there until 1999,” said Banda.

His next step was Shabanie Mine, the club that put him on the map as he won the Premiership ticket in only his second year with the club.

“In our first year in the Premiership we won the BP League Cup after beating Dynamos and got to the final of the Zifa

Cup which we lost to Highlanders FC at Barbourfields Stadium,” said Banda.

With reaching the final of the FA Cup, a berth to play in the Caf Confederation came their way and were drawn against St Michels of Seychelles fired by veterans Phillip Ziallor, Danny Rose and legendary Nelson Sopha.

Shabanie were victorious at home but were bundled out after the second leg at Victoria.

“We had brilliant players in mobile Max Ruza, creative Francis Chandida, Asani Juma and Thomas Makwasha who were in the dangerous in the box and James Kaunda was a stabilising force in midfield,” said Banda.

He said Maglas was their fort and no team came there and bossed them around.

“We were ruthless there and I will never forget that,” said Banda.

He said for most of the success the club and mine enjoyed in sport, praise must go to Shabanie Mine general manager Obert Dube and club chairman, Greg Mataka, a medical doctor and wonderful fans.

“The fans made the atmosphere at Maglas very intimidating for the visitors,” said the former Chinda Boys defence Stalwart.

Banda was brought to Zvishavane by one of the best football managers in the land in the 1990s and early 2000s

Khalid Khan who had a clue about welfare issues.

He said Phiri, Mazanhi and Juma’s arrival from Mhangura,  Makwasha from Mandava United, Chandida from Red

Seal Rovers and Max Ruza from Morris Mukwiti’s Barcelona of Njube turned the tide in their favour as they outsmarted traditional favourites Kango, Corrugated, Intundla, ZPC Hwange and stubborn Chrome Stars.

The rivalry with Mandava he said was good.

“People would talk about the derby between Shabanie and Mandava for weeks,” said Banda.

Shabanie was the mine end of Zvishavane while Mandava brought in most of the town’s service providers together.

He also spoke of the force exerted by AmaZulu, Dynamos and Highlanders FC on the teams in the Castle Lager League.

“Those three clubs had quality. You would enjoy playing them but during the course of the game you would not lose concentration,” said the big defender.

Chapungu and Lancashire Steel with whom he had duels in the Premiership, Midlands derbies too, were very difficulty opponents.

Pacy and intelligent Dynamos protégé, Norman Maroto who was still in the infancy of his Premiership stint when Banda retired, was another player who gave him problems.

He rates Max Ruza as his favourite player and Caps United is the club he supported from childhood.
He said Shabanie Mine will always have a special place in his heart.

Banda was forced into retirement by injury in 2004 but is involved in coaching in the Eastern Region.

He is grateful to Shabanie Mine for affording the players a chance to train in several trades for life after the game.

His life is secure as he trained as a fitter and works as one.

He is married to Mpilo Dube and has two children Ted and Hazel.

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