The joy of a mentor

HARARE – Winning a Test match for your country is a personal milestone, but one man who can be forgiven for basking in the glory of Tendai Chatara’s star performance for Zimbabwe in the series-levelling win over Pakistan is George Tandi.

As a teenager in the early 90s, Tandi was earmarked to become Zimbabwe’s first black international cricketer, but the young express paceman was a victim of his own making as his chequered disciplinary history cost him a place in the national side at the peak of his bowling powers.

Tandi hurt a long time afterward and regretted for a while, but his 22-year-old prodigy’s meteoric rise has somewhat atoned for his disappointment.

Born in Rusape and raised in the Harare high density suburb of Glen Norah, Tandi was one of the first black boys to receive cricket scholarships, and the youngster was enrolled at Prince Edward, where he emerged as a fearsome bowler good enough, at a time blacks where overlooked for selection, to be drafted into a provisional Zimbabwe national squad.

Long after failing to realise his potential, Tandi was dispatched to Mutare as a development coach, where he identified a budding young footballer from Dangamvura named Tendai Larry Chatara and turned him into a fast bowler capable of winning a Test cricket match for his country.

Chatara on Saturday took five wickets as Zimbabwe pulled off a dramatic 24-run win on the fifth day of the second and final Test against Pakistan at the Harare Sports Club.

“I would like to thank the ZC for the development programme, because of that development programme we have people like Tendai Chatara,” Tandi, who now coaches cricket at Churchill High, told the Daily News.

“It’s because of that system that I was able to identify the boy, who has turned to be the country’s premier fast bowler. Hamilton Masakadza, who broke a word record as a 17-year-old, was identified through the same system by the first boy to receive a cricket scholarship in Zimbabwe, Stephen Mangongo. And now you have Chatara being identified by me, the first black boy to be considered for the Zimbabwe cricket team.

“I produced the fest development boy from Manicaland to play for Zimbabwe from junior level to Test level. It’s a great achievement not just form me, but for Manicaland as a province and ZC.I’m very excited. What I was not able to do the boy has achieved. He has corrected my wrongs and perhaps also how I was treated by the system.

“I wouldn’t have achieved it without of Grace. What I can say is I was a naughty boy. I got help from a special man of God I cannot mention. I would also want to thank my wife and child; they have been a pillar of strength. And to Tendai, I would like to say these are the gains you get for knowing where you come from. You have been a good boy and appreciate where you come from. Well done and this is what happen when you know where you come from.”

Comments (1)

glad I could be a part of that history, well-done done coach tandi,

juliet danda - 17 September 2013

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