‘The Rip­per’ calls for re­vival of pro­fes­sional wrestling

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport - Allen Khu­malo Sports Re­porter

RE­TIRED wrestler Al­lan “The Rip­per” Mpofu has called for con­certed ef­forts to re­vive pro­fes­sional wrestling in the coun­try.

Pro­fes­sional wrestling has been dor­mant in the coun­try, with only am­a­teur wrestling com­ing to life to­wards the African Games and the Olympics.

Mpofu be­came Zim­babwe’s youngest pro­fes­sional wrestler at the age of 18 af­ter be­ing in­cor­po­rated un­der the wings of Chris Di­a­mond Ncube, whom he deems a wrestling leg­end in the coun­try.

Mpofu never tasted de­feat in his ca­reer as a pro­fes­sional wrestler un­til he re­tired.

The wrestling leg­end, who also rep­re­sented the coun­try at the 1995 All-Africa Games, said the first step to­wards re­sus­ci­tat­ing pro­fes­sional wrestling was to cre­ate a board through min­is­te­rial ap­point­ment.

“It’s so painful that the sport which started on a big note in the coun­try with the likes of the late Big Mike Tshuma, Maxwell “Moon Dog” Kut­sanzira, Paul “Bad News” Ngozo, Vi­vian “Honolulu” Ma­suku and Rob­bie Ka­pora, has died.

“Cur­rently there’s no board to keep tabs on the sport, mak­ing me won­der how some wrestlers even fight when li­cences are is­sued by the board. That’s the start­ing point if we are to re­vive wrestling,” said Mpofu.

“Per­son­ally, I think the big­gest set­back in this sport was in 1995 dur­ing the All-Africa Games when peo­ple wanted to fast track the sport into an am­a­teur set up so that we par­tic­i­pate in the Games.

“That was the time when the then min­is­ter ap­pointed his of­fice or­derly to be the sec­re­tary­gen­eral. As a re­sult, he started hav­ing mis­un­der­stand­ings with the pro­fes­sion­als and things went off the rail”.

Wrestling was once a pop­u­lar sport in the coun­try with some wrestlers from the United King­dom such as Jim Ho­gan, Taran­tula, Big Daddy and Gi­ant Haystack vis­it­ing Zim­babwe.

The wrestling leg­end also re­flected on his first match against Rob­bie Luonde in Zvisha­vane and other wrestling le­gends.

“It’s so sad to know that all these guys who played an im­por­tant role in the devel­op­ment of the sport have passed away. Sit­ting back as a young guy, I ask my­self why I am here and won­der how the sport would be if those guys were alive.

“Af­ter their pass­ing away, I per­son­ally lost pas­sion for the sport be­cause as young as I was, it was painful bury­ing those guys.

“I am now an old man and the best I can do is to con­sult and help in the re­vival of the sport. I would be more than happy to as­sist in the devel­op­ment of wrestling. Chris Di­a­mond Ncube is also around and he is more than will­ing to help in the re­vival of wrestling,” Mpofu said — @khumza­llen.

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