Paradza's stormy Dynamos career

HARARE - He was a tough and mean defender at the peak of his career, but a power struggle at Dynamos, pitting two sets of administrators in the 1990s, presented a rare moment of vulnerability for Godfrey Paradza.

Bulawayo-born Paradza grew up in Makokoba township before cutting his teeth at Highlanders juniors, where he teamed up with the likes of Willard Khumalo, Netsai Moyo, Tendai Muringai, Oliver Dube – amongst others.

He would later move to Harare to join Dynamos following stints with Zimbabwe Saints and Tornadoes in Zimbabwe’s top-flight league.

“I had joined Dynamos in 1991,” Paradza says. 

“We won the league title that year. The following year there was a problem of factionalism of leadership between Jokoniah Nhekairo and (Morrison) Sifelani.

“I was just a player on loan from Tornadoes so I was caught in between. Zifa were recognising the Nhekairo faction so I had to be on Nhekairo’s side. I was caught between a rock and a hard place.

“During that time, I had my house stoned. I was scared for my life and the safety of my family.

“The fans were pro-Sifelani, while Zifa wanted Nhekairo.  So we were targeted by the fans.

“It wasn’t football anymore. The fans thought if they attacked us, we would stop playing and thereby weakening Nhekairo. We were no longer training. We were playing in empty stadia. We were caught in-between.”

Paradza, however, says at the end of the day sanity prevailed.

“I didn’t have a hate relationship with fans, if you play well you are a darling. I never had a problem only for that time.”

Paradza was initially spotted by Dynamos’ junior scouts as a youngster before the family moved back to Bulawayo and ultimately joining Zimbabwe Saints at Under-14 level.

“I later moved to Highlanders because most guys I grew up with were there. Back then there was this rival between the two sets of juniors of Highlanders and Zim Saints.

“I was in the Highlanders U-16 team under Ali Dube. We called it Liverpool back then.”

A chance arose for the then Sobhukazi Secondary School pupil to join Zimbabwe Saints’ senior team at the tender age of 17, then under the tutelage of Peter Nyama.

“I remember being called up to the Zimbabwe Under-20 team after only two games. I started playing with the likes of Maronga Nyangela, Benedict Moyo, Sebastian Chikwature, and Madinda Ndlovu.

“After playing a season with the Under-20s, I was called up to the senior national team. I was only 18. I was understudying James Takavada right-back. It was unforgettable experience.”

A knee injury would eventually end his career in 1996.

Paradza is now a qualified coach, having coached Zimbabwe Saints and Mbabane Highlanders of Swaziland among other teams.

The qualified chartered accountant says women were the downfall of many a talented footballers of his time – although he kept his discipline throughout.

“Yes, girls would flock but because of my upbringing I didn’t do all that. That’s why I had a career of 14 years. If you don’t have self-discipline you were in trouble.”

He was once attached to Nottingham Forest in England in the late 80s alongside Zimbabwe colleagues John Phiri and Moses Chunga.

Comments (1)

yo youth friend mgcini would like to commend yu as i was yo spectetor and motivator through out yo carrier wishing yu all the best in your eandevours

gcinukuthula kwembeya - 16 February 2015

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