Tembo Chuma sets record straight

BULAWAYO - Many people were surprised to see Highlanders goalkeepers’ trainer Tembo Chuma taking part in a Tonga song and dance in tribute of the late Adam Ndlovu at the Bosso legend’s funeral service.

 For many do not know that Chuma is from Binga and mistakenly think that he comes from Masvingo, where he rose to prominence while turning out for Masvingo United as a goalkeeper in the last decade.

 The Daily News caught up with Chuma as he was hanging out with his kinsmen at the MAP Ndlovu brothers’ offices in the Bulawayo City centre and the pint-sized former shot stopper narrated his life story.

 “I was born at Binga Hospital in 1973 and grew up in Hwange, where I started playing football at Sir Humphrey Gibbs Primary School and later on at Hwange Secondary,”   Chuma says.

 “At that time, I was also part of the Wankie Football Club juniors and I graduated into the first team in 1992 but left in 1993 after the then coach Paul Moyo told me he had qualms about my height.”

 After unsuccessfully trying his luck at Northern Region Division One sides Lulu Rovers and Rio Tinto, Chuma came to Bulawayo where he joined Kango, who were in the Southern Region First Division.

 He stayed for four years at Kango, playing alongside the likes of Quelaton coach Farai Sibanda, until he packed his bags at the end of the 1997 season when he decided to try his luck in the top flight and joined army outfit Black Rhinos.

 Chuma spent the whole of 1998 at Rhinos but left the following year after his family had reservations about him joining the army and moved to Masvingo United in 1999.

 He rose to prominence as part of a trailblazing Yuna Yuna side that won numerous titles in the new millennium. These include the Zifa Unity Cup in 2002, OK Woza Bhora in 2005, Zifa Unity Cup in 2005 and the Independence Trophy in 2006.

 For the 2005 cup victories, Chuma was already doubling up as a player and team manager while in 2006 he was the goalkeepers’ coach.

 By 2010, Yuna Yuna’s fortunes had plummeted and the team was playing in the Eastern Region First Division. Chuma etched his name into the hearts of the Masvingo townsfolk after assuming the head coach position at the death of the legendary Lovemore Nyabeze and led the team back into the Premiership.

 “I was pleasantly surprised when on a recent visit to Masvingo, the team’s fans hoisted me up into the air and begged me to come back and take charge of the team,” Chuma says. “They still remember how I managed to use the few resources that the club had and guided them to promotion in 2010.”

 Chuma added that he quit Masvingo United after he came back from the off-season to find that he had been redeployed to work under Luke Masomere.  He joined Highlanders as a goalkeepers coach at the beginning of 2011.

 He won the Independence Trophy in his first season with the Bulawayo giants and also got a runners-up medal when Bosso lost to Motor Action in the 2011 BancABC Sup8r final.

 In 2012, Chuma was part of the technical team that turned Highlanders into an exciting outfit that lost out on the Castle Premiership title on the last day of the season after losing out to eventual winners Dynamos on goal difference.

 “The working environment at Highlanders has been great and I have learnt a lot from the head coach Kelvin Kaindu,” he says. “I hope in the coming season we will improve on last year’s performance and go on to lift the title that we narrowly lost to Dynamos.” -  Sakheleni Nxumalo

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