Chisetera's career was rocked by 'work' politics

HARARE – Prolific goal-scorer and winger Wonder Chisetera’s career was full of life and promise.

The former Black Aces forward was employed by the National Breweries in the then Salisbury while his employers also had a football team of their own.

The bone of contention was that they wanted Chisetera to give up on other teams and play for his paymasters.

The traditional number seven recalls with regret how his exploits on the soccer field died a natural death although he was quick to point out that after getting a directive to choose between work and soccer “job security was worth more than chasing and kicking leather.”

“In 1976 I was loaned to Natbrew Rovers for a year and helped them win promotion into the top flight league but soon the officials from National Breweries and Black Aces where embroiled in a dispute,” Chisetera recalls to the Daily News.

“My employers wanted me to play for their team because I was permanently employed by them. A directive came compelling me to choose between them and Aces but before that they had changed my working shifts, making it very difficult for me to continue with my training.

“In those days, playing football was more about getting fame, but without anything to show for it. Working was my only source of livelihood hence I left Black Aces for good.”

National Breweries was not keen on playing in the top-flight league and this affected them in the long run as players left for greener pastures before the team slumped back to Division Five.

Chisetera was capped at national level once by his country.

The former forward was born in a footballing family, his father played social football while his elder brothers Fabian (late) and Kennedy played competitively. The trio played together for All Blacks back in 1967 in Division Five in Mutare, then Umtali.

Umtali was renamed to Sakubva United in 1975 and played in the Premiership and played alongside such players as Ebson “Sugar” Muguyo and Andrew “Mai Maria” Kadengu.

The team did not last long as it disbanded at the end of the season, prompting Chisetera to move to the capital, where he signed for Chibuku United.

“It was a positive move for me career-wise and I even received $750 (local currency) as my signing-on fee under the tutelage of Jack Meagher,” he said.

Just like Umtali, Chibuku folded again. The players and supporters convened a meeting at Highfield’s Community Hall and came up with the idea to form a new team, giving birth to Black Aces in 1976.

The Chibuku side had comprised such players as Phosani Sibanda, Sunday Marimo (now Chidzambwa), July Sharara, David Muchineripi, Fresh Chamaringa, Billy Shaman, Peter Manyara, Zoem Rambanai, Charles Gwazu, Bernard Dzingai, Simon Mudzudzu, Steven Chuma and John Garatsu.

The majority of them went on to play for the newly formed Aces, with the addition of Roderick Muganiri, Booker Muchena, Byron “Piri Piri” Manuel, Daniel Chikanda, Clever Hunda and Bernard Kuwana. Jimmy Finch was the head coach.

He remembers vividly the “day light robbery” by referee Peter Bale in a BAT Cup final against Rio Tinto. Aces lost 1-0.

“I was charging for goal and hacked down in the final third by Ephat Lungu but instead of awarding us the penalty, the referee gave us a free kick, that was saved by the keeper,” he says.

“The goalkeeper quickly dispatched a long clearance that caught us on a counter, Rio Tinto’s Robert Godoka beat Booker Muchena in goals and soon after afterwards the match ended. This was a painful moment for me especially because I could have killed the game as a contest if it wasn’t for that foul.”

Chisetera has a number of accolades to his credit; in 1977 Black Aces beat Dynamos in the Nyore Nyore Cup having lost in the same final to the same opposition the previous year.

The same year they finished runners-up to Rio Tinto in the Rosebowl Knockout Cup while in 1978 they lost to Dynamos in the Champions of Champions Sports Pools finals.

He had a stint as a player coach at Natbrew Rovers, took them from Division Five to Two before giving up on the team and football career in 1999 due to infighting.

Now aged 60, Chisetera is happily married to his wife Catherine and the couple has seven children, six boys and a girl.  They family stays in Budiriro 1 in Harare.

“It’s unfortunate that none of my children have managed to take over the legacy, none of them chose to play football, only Simba tried but he wasn’t good enough, Milton is into music while others have followed different paths,” Chisetera says.

“It pains me when I see some of my former mates’ children emulating what their parents did, but there’s not much we can do but to support them in their chosen career.”

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