League title eluded him as a player

HARARE - In his playing days, Tonderai Ndiraya was credited with engineering most of Dynamos’s goals from an offensive midfield position, but he says no amount of praises can make up for his failure to win the league title.

The former Prince Edward schoolboy made his debut for the famous Harare side in 1998 aged 21 in an away league tie against Chapungu before going to make several appearances for the Glamour Boys.

“Playing for Dynamos was unbelievable and it was quite an experience having my first dance in the Champions League although we lost 4-2 to Asec Mimosas in Abidjan in the final,” Ndiraya tells the Daily News.

“It was even a great honour at that time to rub shoulders with some of the country’s finest players and under the stewardship of a great captain Memo (Mucherahowa).”

At Dynamos, Ndiraya played alongside such players as Tauya “Flying Doctor”Murehwa, Memory “Mwendamberi” Mucherahowa, Calisto Pasuwa, Lloyd “Samaita” Mutasa, Makwinji Soma-Phiri, Masimba Dinyero, Gift “Umbro” Muzadzi, Lovemore “Magents” Ncube, Chamunoda Musanhu, Lenny Gwata, Sandros Kumwenda, Kingstone Rinemhota among others.

Being part of this star-studded line-up was an achievement in its own and together as a team, they managed to mesmerise the local Premiership but played second fiddle to Bulawayo giants Highlanders for a sustained period.

“It’s funny how tables have turned, we used to endure torrid moments against Highlanders during our days but the current DeMbare team has made amends by turning things around in our favour,” he says.

“The games against Bosso were always hotly-contested matches and the rivalry has continued up to the present day, but what’s discouraging is the level of violent incidences that I think has risen drastically from the previous years.”

Now 37, Ndiraya was also capped several times at Under-23 and full international level.

“Some of my best moments included making into the national Under-23 side as well as donning the Warriors’ jersey under Clemence Westerhof in 2000 and 2001,” he adds.

“Later on I had a few games for the national team under Sunday Marimo (now Chidzambwa) and of course winning numerous cups with Dynamos.”

Ndiraya was happy to reunite with former teammate Pasuwa and together formed Dynamos’ technical department where he was assistant to the later.

DeMbare won the League title successively in 2011 and 2012 before Ndiraya left amid a growing tension with head coach Pasuwa.

“Obviously in any working environment you are bound to disagree at some point, that is normal but there was no bad blood at all,” he says.

“Pasuwa is like a big brother to me, I have learnt a lot from him both as players and as his understudy and when I left we spoke about it and I left amicably.”

After his departure, Pasuwa made it three league titles in three years coming back from behind to wrestle the championship from Harare City on the last match of the season.

Ndiraya is now the Harare Junior Football League secretary and also coaches at his former school Prince Edward. The disappointment of not winning the championship still haunts Ndiraya.

“The league championship eluded me as a player but I won it twice as an assistant coach to Pasuwa,” he says.

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