Ndega Matsika looks back on career

HARARE - Ndega Matsika might not have represented his country at any age group level throughout his 14-year playing career, but the former Buffaloes and Black Rhinos goalkeeper is indebted to Ephraim Masakure for shaping his career.

Matsika, now 41, reckons Masakure, a former Tanganda, Black Rhinos and Tongogara goalkeeper as the most instrumental figure throughout his career.

Matsika spent the better part of his formative years at the now defunct Zupco FC in Division One in the 90s before being lured by Masakure in 1996 to join army side Buffaloes, who were playing in Division Two that time.

But what pushed Matsika to take a step down to the third tier of local football in Division Two?

“Having looked up to Masakure during his playing days, it was easier for me to go and join his team after he invited me,” Matsika explains to the Daily News.

“I respected Masakure a lot. He was a former great player whom I admired a lot and I was eager to learn from him. And I believe had it not be for him I could have not reached where I am today.”

Matsika’s made his mark early with Buffaloes and helped the club gain promotion to Division One in his first season.

In their first season in Division One, Buffaloes punched above their weight as they missed promotion to the Premiership by a whisker after they were pipped by Black Rhinos.

“We had a strong team then. I remember having players like Aaron Dzvete who is now the current Buffaloes team manager,” recalls Matsika.

“He was a complete striker. We missed on promotion to Rhinos but I recalled beating them 2-0 at One Commando.”

While at Buffaloes, Matsika faced a stiff competition for the no1 jersey from Simba Manzungu and the late Philip Makina.

During those days, Buffaloes had other exciting players in the mould of Jeffrey Maruta, Eddie Nyika, Eddie Dube and Munyaradzi Mabaya among others.

In 1999, Matsika took a six month sabbatical because of some pressing family commitments.

On his return, the giant goalie worked his way to claim the no1 jersey and because of his heroics, Matsika got an opportunity to join Dynamos in 2002 which he spurned.

This is a decision which he has lived to regret for the rest of his career.

“I was misinformed then. Of course there were great players at DeMbare then but I believe if I had joined them, I could have done pretty well. I think I was young and I failed to make a good decision,” Matsika says.

The goalkeeper stayed with Buffaloes until 2006 when he finally answered his call to come to the capital not to join DeMbare but Black Rhinos after he was signed by Sam Mavhenyengwa.

At Rhinos, Matsika’s rivalry with Manzungu was renewed together with Brito Gwere.

At the club, Matsika played alongside players like Gift Kamuriwo, Patrick Mandizha, Rowan Nenzou, Robson Chisango and Beaven Chikaka among other players.

Matsika rates Droment Chirova and Misheck chidzambwa as one the best coaches he has worked under.

“Apart from Masakure Chirova was also a great coach. Same applies to Misheck Chidzambwa who coached me at ZUPCO United,” he said.

Matsika finally hanged up his gloves in 2009 and decided to concentrate on gaining his coaching badges.

Since quitting playing, Matsika has been part of the Black Rhinos technical team as the goalkeeper’s coach.

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