Zimbabwe: Munya Mbanje Impresses Again

October 12, 2011 11:02 am 0 comments



Published by the government of Zimbabwe

Phillip Zulu

11 October 2011







Leeds — PROMISING young Zimbabwean soccer player Munyaradzi Mbanje continued to raise his profile in England by recently scoring another well-taken goal.

Playing for the Leeds United Academy side on September 27, Mbanje (15) cleverly dispossessed the ball from an opponent near the centre circle and then charged into the attacking third, weaving past two static defenders.

He took on the first defender and left him for dead as he rode through a tackle and went past a lame challenge that allowed him to shoot at the near post with the keeper sprawling.

This was his second goal in two games, he could have had a hat-trick but the opposing goalkeeper of Doncaster made some brilliant saves at point-blank range.

Now nicknamed “Jubilee”, Mbanje celebrated his goal together with the contract, which will give him an opportunity to sign a scholarship contract at 16 and then a professional contract thereafter.

On October 4, Munya played against Barnsely Under-16 and capped a fine performance with another cheeky goal. The ball was swung in the six yard box of Barnsely and the defenders failed to clear it, the deflection from one the defenders fell on to Munya and he cooly headed the ball downwards away from a diving goalkeeper.

The goal stunned the goalkeeper because he thought he had his goal covered but only for Munya to show his clever predatory instincts.

Munya “Jubilee” Mbanje has now scored three goals in three consecutive games and this raised his profile, he has become the most talked about youngster at the club at the moment.

After what most people read in a recent report in The Herald of Munya “Jubilee” Mbanje, I was bombarded with calls from around England, South Africa and Zimbabwe, the question was simple and short: “Who is Munya ‘Jubilee’ Mbanje?”

Some went as far as suggesting that I had gone overboard in singing praises to him, others were of the opinion that it was too early to write stuff of that magnitude but the way he played against Doncaster, it was an impressive performance that epitomises the similarities with the late former great player Joel “Jubilee” Shambo.

All the trademarks that made the Makepekepe faithful chant “The Teacher, The Headmaster, Mwalimu” etc were on display - a high dropping ball in the centre of the pitch and Jubilee quickly rises to magnetically control it on the laces of his boot.

I was the happiest person after the game as he did not disappoint on the pitch.

I only wrote what I saw and the talent Munya is blessed with. I have no doubt that we have a huge talented young Zimbabwean who can put back the smile on every football fan out there just like what Peter Ndlovu did in the early 90s. He is showing the class and high quality of football that is ingrained in the football DNA of Harare’s high-density suburb of) Mufakose.

I will never forget the likes of the late Stanley “Sinyo” Ndunduma, Archieford “Chehuchi” Chimutanda, Salad Twaliki, Sam Twaliki and his late son Shingi Arlon Twaliki, and Joel “Jubilee” Shambo (late), Todd “Uncle” Chitimbe (late), Never “Maswerasei” Chiku (late), Cheche Billiart (late), Funny “Mambama” Vera, Webster “Sekuru” Lozenjani, Moses “Razorman” Chunga, Kembo Chunga, Dickson “Dikela” Chunga, Charles “Starblack” Kaseke, Mike “Mabhurukwa” Abrahams, Kennedy “Czech Master” Chihuri, Memory “Mwendamberi” Mucherahowa, Clayton Munemo and many others. To all the football addicts of Mufakose or Mufombi as they like to call it, not forgetting Magandanga and its soccer-mad residents, a new star is born and he grew up in Mutondo Street, where they drink, eat and sleep football. He comes along with all the technical abilities that made “Bhoys DzekuMufombi” so special, the “Maracana” way of Mufakose traditional ball juggling skills.

As I was watching him (Munya) play against Barnsely, everything that Jubilee did was telepathic with my thinking, (Cruyff turn, stepovers, dropping the shoulders, out-foot pass, dead ball specialist etc), it was a display of the highest quality.

After the game I started to ask him about where he grew up and what made him become so passionate about the game and when he mentioned Mutondo Street, the floodgates opened up, all the memories of the greatest players that taught some of us the game came to my mind.

I remembered vividly the two former foot soldiers of the game, the late Never “Maswerasei” Chiku and Cheche Billiart.

They used to walk all the way from Magandanga through my neighbourhood of Cherima in Highfield to play money games in Glen Norah and Highfield. Mufakose, to me, it is the equivalent of NASA and Oxford University, in terms of producing competent and exceptionally gifted graduates for the Zimbabwean football market.

When Munya said that he attended Rusununguko Primary School during his primary education, I was animated beyond any description, I remembered playing football at the same school against Memory “Mwendamberi” Mucherahohwa when I was in Grade Six.

Our then headmaster at Rusvingo Primary School, the late Mr Chikombero, had been transferred from Rusununguko to our school in Highfield and he had this unexplained fondness of his former school.

Every year he would arrange a trip for the school teams to go and play friendly games in Mufakose with his former school, Rusununguko.

Munya’s dad is a former footballer for the now-defunct former Premiership team Grain Tigers that was once coached by Friday “Breakdown” Phiri, who was once my good mentor at CAPS United juniors.

Munya is destined for a bright future in the game of football as he progresses well with the potential that he has got, he can match most of the most-gifted young players who became big stars of the game today.

 Phillip Zulu is a Zimbabwean soccer coach who is currently working with young promising soccer players in England and he also works as a scout for several English sides.

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