The Herald (Zimbabwe)


- By Madinda Ndlovu Sports Reporter

I have known Rahman Gumbo from the late 1970s when we clashed as opponents.

I was with the Highlander­s FC juniors while he was with his family team called Njube United, which was presumably owned and coached by his football loving father Peter ‘Sister’ Gumbo.

What makes me remember him is that he played in midfield and was above the rest in a team that had his brother Charles Chunky Gumbo, a good defender in the making who however, would not go far with the game.

I remember Chunky was guilty of inflicting two fractures on Nhamo Shambira. In our first encounter, must have been 1978-79 Shambira was a victim of Chunky’s physical game, after several months Shambira returned to action and as fate would have it, in his return to action game, Chunky forced a fracture on Shambira. Both brothers were good.

We stayed for years without meeting and never thought much about him. Back then there were so many talented players for one to take note of and he had gone off the radar until the mid-1980s when he was now with Eagles who had changed their name from Bulawayo Wanderers.

It was a very good Eagles side with some very good players like Richard Manda, Victor Moonsammy, Boy Ndlovu, Asani Karigeni, Obadiah Chiwetu, Charles Wadawu, Francis Paketh, Johannes Tshuma, Tanny Banda, Felix Ntuthu before Lucky Dube went to Harare.

They were talented and deserved Super League football for the talent they had.

Rahman was played as a midfielder before he was pushed upfront to a second striker and acquitted himself well.

In 1987 he came to Highlander­s FC intending to join at the beginning of the season. Things did not go well with Eagles not releasing him like Elvis Chiweshe.

Chiweshe ended up going to Dynamos while Rahman stuck around.

I remember the club dropping Amin SomaPhiri at the Harare Internatio­nal Airport now the RG Robert Mugabe Internatio­nal Airport so as to accommodat­e Rahman. Highlander­s had heard through the grapevine that the star midfielder who had in 1985 and 1986 netted over 20 goals per season, was Harare bound decided to take him on a tour to Germany.

Alexander Maseko and myself were on our way to Kenya with the Zimbabwe senior national team and hence could not make it to Germany.

Rahman eventually came on board in 1988. After a quiet 1987, we were eager to retain our title as Cup Kings of Zimbabwe. He was a useful addition who added value to the team with his talent. It was just not an easy Bosso team to walk in, there was talent all over and coming in midfield where we had a diamond formation with Willard Khumalo anchoring, Tito Paketh behind and Titus Majola on the right wing, he was slotted in several positions, behind strikers and on the left and at times as the top man.

There was fierce competitio­n with Tanny Banda and myself on the wings, Nqobizitha, Soma-Phiri, Mpumelelo Dzowa, Ronny Jowa and Thoko Sithole, the coaches were spoilt for choice. We would later be joined by Boy Ndlovu. The Eagles strike-force was now at Highlander­s as we used to deliberate­ly weaken teams that trouble us by getting their best. Eagles used to give us all sorts of head aches.

When he came to Highlander­s Rahman quickly became friends with Khumalo, Mercedes Sibanda and Sydney Zimunya. They were the tightest of buddies on and off the field.

Even in camp they were among themselves be it national team or club and would even go out together after matches.

I went to Germany in 1989 and he went to Denmark.

We would reunite in 1991 but he stayed briefly before moving to Cyprus but on his return we played together to win the 1993 league championsh­ip.

If my memory serves me right, I played with him in the Dream Team. I don’t remember meeting him in the national teams in the 1980s where from Bulawayo I travelled with the likes of Max Tshuma, Ephraim Chawanda, Alexander Maseko, Willard Khumalo, Henry Mckop, Pernell Mckop, Godfrey Paradza, Mercedes Sibanda, Joseph Machingura and Boy Ndlovu.

There were other additions later like Abraham Mbambo, Agent Sawu, Melusi Nkiwane, Adam Ndlovu and Peter.

We were not the closest of friends because I did not drink but we got along very well as I liked his commitment to the game.

Rahman was committed to everything he did and I am not surprised when he decided to fellowship at his wife’s church, he went for it at full throttle.

During the Dream Team he continued to be tight friends with Khumalo and Rambo, anything he did his friends were around him and when it came to football, he gave it his all.

We had memorable times together and sadly the Dream Team is an episode where his charismati­c self was put to test as many never forgave him for marking out Moses Chunga in a trial match to gauge his fitness.

When he retired I was at Highlander­s as assistant coach and I would later invite him to join me in 1997-98. He came when I had already done pre-season with the team and added some new faces while losing Lovemore Ncube to Dynamos and Sikhumbuzo Ndebele to AmaZulu. He went on to win two championsh­ips with the same team while Eddie May would add two more titles.

We were to meet in Botswana where he won the league title and other silverware and myself I won too with Centre Chiefs and Township Rollers another team he coached to the throne. We contribute­d in the Brand Botswana Football.

I remember around 2014 he beat me in a cup final after I had been home for a Caf A course.

My assistants undid all my football philosophy during my absence and come match day, the players were at sea and we lost.

Faced with that I stepped down from the coaching job.

Rahman liked joking a lot. At times he would not care even if it hurt whoever he had picked on in jest.

What time while we were flying from Johannesbu­rg, he picked on Adam, and my boy got angry and ended up saying he had his own house after all.

Rahman would not hurt anyone with his jokes as they were just said to liven up spirits be it in camp or socially.

For over 40 years I have known this great servant of the game. A committed cadre, selfless servant like most coaches abused and not appreciate­d for his sacrifices.

To his family, Eagles, Highlander­s and other clubs he worked with, my heartfelt condolence­s. Football is poorer without Rahman.

Rest In Peace Rahman I will always remember those well taken shots from outside the box at Highlander­s and in the national team.

● Madinda Ndlovu is a legendary football figure in Zimbabwe and Southern Africa who had a colourful and medal laden career with Highlander­s FC. One of his best years was 1988 when Rahman Gumbo arrived from Eagles to help them win the Independen­ce, Heroes, Rothmans and FA Cup.

ZIMBABWE internatio­nal striker Tino Kadewere was a 64th minute substitute as seven-times French champions Lyon ended their wait for a first Ligue 1 victory of the season by beating 10-man Rennes on Sunday.

The decisive goal came three minutes after Kadewere’s introducti­on as Irishman Jake O’Brien rose highest to nod in the goal that gave Lyon their first win this term on 67 minutes.

Hosts Rennes lost Guela Doue, sent off for a dangerous tackle just five minutes into the match.

“We managed to play a great game, we left our hearts on the pitch and everything we had in our bellies,”said Lyon coach Fabio Grosso.

Kadewere, who is yet to open his account this season, took to social media to celebrate the win.

“This one felt very good, let us all stay positive and keep going,” he posted.

Lyon remain bottom of the Ligue 1 with seven points from 11 matches, 20 points behind leaders PSG while Zimbabwe internatio­nal midfielder Marshall Munetsi’s Stade de Reims are now fifth with 20 points from 12 games.

Munetsi lasted the whole game as they lost 0-3 at home to PSG whose goals came from Kylian Mbappe.

In the South African Premiershi­p, Zimbabwe internatio­nal striker Terrence Dzvukamanj­a scored the opener as SuperSport United crumbled to lose 1-2 to Sekhukhune United in Polokwane on Sunday evening.

SuperSport United remain in second position on the DStv Premiershi­p log with 23 points, a point behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns but Gavin Hunt’s side has played 12 matches as opposed to eight for Sundowns.

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