Shabba looks back on shortened career

HARARE - Broadcaster Charles Mabika has described him as a “high calibre midfielder” while ex-CAPS United star Stanford “Stix” Mtizwa says Joseph Takaringofa’s talent was unmistakable from the first time he played against him.

His rise to fame in the 90s coincided with the popularity of Jamaican dancehall artist Shabba Ranks, which earned the Mutare-born star the nickname Shabba.

But Takaringofa feels of everything said about him, he could have had a much bigger impact had injury not forced him into premature retirement.

“I got injured in my first season at Dynamos. I was out for more than six months, unfortunately I received no support,” Takaringofa tells the Daily News.

“It was frustrating having to pay your own medical bills. Sidelined with injury, I gained a lot of weight. I tried getting back to football but the love had gone. I tried to come back with Circle Cement but it was no longer the same.”

Mabika feels the knee injury cut short a career full of promise.

“I think he was destined for the Warriors and perhaps a stint outside the country because at that time he had interests from different South African clubs,” Mabika says.

The veteran football commentator said the robust attacking midfielder was known for scoring cracking goals.  

“I wouldn’t say he is one of the finest midfielders I ever saw but he was a high calibre midfielder. I think people noticed him when he moved from Tanganda to CAPS United,” he says.

“He was well built, he was strong, he could initiate attacks with movement and agility and he could score some amazing goals.”

Takaringofa first found his feet turning out for Division One side Zupco Juniors in 1991 as a 17-year-old.

A move to Tanganda in 1992 would signal the beginning of his flirtation with the top-flight football.

Takaringofa would earn praise after starring in Tanganda’s 2-1 win over Mtizwa’s Black Rhinos.

“That game he played well. I didn’t know him then but he played a blinder” says Mtizwa.

Takaringofa also recalls the match with a lot of nostalgia. 

“I scored in that game but the best experience was playing against Stix. He is someone I looked up to. He was very welcoming and that inspired me.”

With Lloyd Mutasa the talisman, ably complemented by a host of red-hot talent, Tanganda went on to win the Castle Cup in 1993, beating CAPS United on penalties.

That Tanganda team featured the likes of Spencer Ngowe, Ian Matondo, William Chari, Patrick Chapoterera, Ford Chitakatira, Webster Kurwaisimba, Farai Mavhuna Mudare, among others.

“I moved to CAPS United in 1995. I went on to play with such players as captain Silver Chigwenje, Joe Mugabe, Morgan Nkatazo, Cheche Billiat, Charles Yohane, Alois Bunjira, Stewart Murisa, Farai Mbidzo, and Felix Antonio,” Takaringofa says.

“We won multiple trophies with CAPS; you talk of the BP Cup in 1997 and 1997, the Independence trophy, Rosebowl Charity Shield and the championship in 1996.”

Takaringofa’s flirtation with United only lasted two seasons.

“I had a misunderstanding with the coach (Steve Kwashi). I didn’t want to go. But as a player there are things I wasn’t happy about and at the end of it all some harsh words were exchanged,” he says

“From there, in 1998, I went to Jets. I only played seven games and scored 10 goals. Soon after I was taken by Dynamos. I played for a season and unfortunately I got injured.”

Takaringofa turned to coaching after he was forced by circumstances to hang his boots.

He also had some stints with a number of lower division clubs.

He is now looking forward to taking part in the Caf B License in October and hopefully continue to give back to football.

“It was all about gaining experience but I’m still looking for opportunities to go further,” he says.

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