Proverbs 6 vs 19 is clear in its instruction. The Lord hates “he who causes strife among brethren.!” In one article I highlighted the “Coloured” players who made Arcadia United such a force in Zimbabwe Football. It was a deliberate decision to do so but it was not meant to ignore the non coloured players who also played their role. I did not mean to divide, to cause strife! For indeed Arcadia was a multi racial team which welcomed many black players. They felt at home, were committed and heeded the clarion call, “Come On Arcadia!” In this edition, let me talk about the best I watched. The list is long so I will go with eleven.
1. Mike Mhlanga- often referred to as “Big Mike”, the man was a colossus between the sticks. He was so good and was also called for National Team duty where he competed with Raphael Phiri and Japhet Mparutsa. This meant that he had to be at his best to get any chance. The fact that he earned a few caps in the star studded Warriors team says a lot about his pedigree.
Big Mike served Arcadia United with distinction and won a few trophies with them. He was reliable!
2.Adolf Mutuma – I did not watch this legend but one football guru I share football notes with, Brian Muyengwa claims that Mutuma introduced the wingback role to our football narrative. This was in the pre independence era. I am tempted to agree, because the legend had great qualities. In 1972 he was recognised for his swashbuckling style by being selected among the best 11 players in the country. He graced the much cherished “Soccer Stars of the year calendar!”.
3 Stanley Chirambadare -nicknamed “Samora” the attacking wingback joined Arcadia from Dynamos. He served the team well and contributed both in defence and attack. Before long, his performances earned him a recall to the Glamour Boys, his boyhood club. Arcadia United proved to be a good platform to hone his skills.
4. Ernest Mutano – nicknamed “Mr Cool” for his easy going nature, Mutano was a reliable defender who was also good on the ball. He was what propents of modern football would call a ball playing defender. Think of Matip of Liverpool, think of Mutano back then. He was easy on the eye and kept strikers at bay through good reading of the game. “Mr Cool” was also versatile and could also play as a defensive link man.
5.Gift Makoni – “Shaft” was his nickname, he made his name with Arcadia United before joining Black Rhinos. Shaft was comfortable across the back line and coykd also be deployed as a defensive midfielder.
Vocal and confident, he walked the talk on the pitch!
Other defenders who should be mentioned before I move on are James Bvumbi, Ernest Katanda and Clever Muzuva, Hussein Amidu, Steve “Cobra” Chikodzi who all served Arcadia United well..
It is I’m midfield where the talent is concentrated. The defensive midfield is literally congested.
We had Anthony Kambani, nicknamed “Bryan Robson” the gritty ball winner who was a water carrier for those with better ball skills, he served Arcadia with distinction before moving to Caps United. We also had Danny Jambo nicknamed DJ who is one of the most underrated midfielders of his generation. A likeable character, DJ was a hardworking midfielder who was also very good on the ball. What about Shepherd Muradzikwa, nicknamed “Dragline”, the hardworking midfielder moved to Arcadia United at the peak of his career? Many fans wondered why he chose Arcadia United when he could , have walked into teams like Dynamos or Highlanders without a fuss. But he chose Arcadia and Arcadia United embraced him. Renowned for his thunderbolts from distance, Muradzikwa was an integral member of the Zimbabwe National team. Honourable mention should go to Benjamin Mpofu nicknamed ” Matambanadzo” who also had a stint at this club. Then there was David Zulu, another one renowned for his canon shots. Who do i pick for the number 6 role ?
6. David Zulu -the hardworking Zulu was a great player. Allow me therefore to pick him ahead of other luminaries like the above mentioned. Zulu was respected for his love of training and his professional approach. He was super-fit and had what we call in football discourse, “a big engine..!” Zulu also played for the Warriors. I think he deserves this slot with all due respect to the other Legends.
7.Mike Abrahams – there is only one name for this position. It has to be the man we all knew as “Mabhurugwa”, he was a touchline magician. Abrahams was a dribbling Wizard who hogged the wide areas of the pitch with aplomb. Defenders had a torrid time as they tried to nick the ball off him, he left them on their backside!
National caps? Surprise, surprise, I do not remember “Mabhurugwa” in National colours. If he was not capped, I guess it is one of the mysteries of our football narrative.
8. Richard Manda – a legend who joined Arcadia as a veteran. He had served Ziscosteel and Gweru United before finishing his career at Arcadia United. Manda was hardworking and good ball carrier. His ability to switch play with diagonal passes made him a special talent.
9.Francis Nechironga – a product of the Caps United junior structures, the bustling striker contributed a lot to the Arcadia United cause. He was energetic and hardworking and had an eye for goal. The legend comes from a football family, his father was a title winner with St. Paul’s in 1966 and his young brother George Nechironga won the Soccer Star award in 1990.
10.Mike Madzivanyika – nicknamed ” Micky Dread”, he was one of the most technically gifted players of his generation. Madzivanyika joined Arcadia having served his boyhood club Black Aces with distinction. His left foot had a “midas” touch. What a player!!
Some might question my choice of Madzivanyika for this position when Archford “Chehuche” Chimutanda also played for Arcadia. Well, Archie was incomparable but I wonder how many matches he played for Arcadia. Chimutanda was a rolling stone and I doubt that he stayed long at Arcadia United. Let me therefore stick with “Micky Dread!”.
11.Givemore Nyahuma – another legend who came from a football family which included goalkeeper Emmanuel Nyahuma and lower league legend Patrick, Givemore was a reliable striker who served Arcadia well. After spending years at the club, he later moved to Caps United.
Indeed Arcadia United was very welcoming to all. The club might have been created to cater for the “Coloured Community ” but there was no football apartheid. Black players felt equally at home and played an integral role in flying the Arcadia United flag high.
” Come on Arcadia..!”, everyone heeded the call!