'Mwana Africa was a nightmare'

HARARE - Mwana Africa might now be history to many, but former midfielder Alisara Kondowe still bears emotional scars after the club blocked his move to join DRC glamour side TP Mazembe.

Kondowe was part of the Mwana Africa team that left a lasting impression in their three year flirtation in Zimbabwe’s top-flight football league.

The Bindura-based nickel miners went on to write their own piece of history in the African Confederations Cup in 2007, reaching the play-off stage before they were knocked out of the tournament by seasoned campaigners TP Mazembe.

It was during that fairy-tale run that Kondowe impressed the Mazembe hierarchy, who immediately tabled their offer for the tireless midfielder. But Mwana Africa kept everything under the carpet.

“We had done well in the Confederations Cup that year and TP Mazembe was interested in my services but somehow Mwana Africa blocked my move,” Kondowe tells the Daily News.

“I regret ever joining Mwana Africa. It’s every player’s dream to play outside the country and when someone messes up with your career just like that, it hurts a lot.

“I only learnt about it later and there was nothing I could do. To make matters worse the team was no longer honouring their contractual obligations. 

“It’s one thing I want to advice to the youngsters that they should look for genuine football agents. As you know most footballers are not educated.”

Kondowe, now 38, spent the better part of his formative years playing for Trojan Stars in Division Two before guiding the now defunct club into Division One in 1996.

The Bindura-born midfielder enforcer’s break-through came in 1999 when he was lured to Arcadia United by Moses Chunga, who had been tasked to steer the team away from relegation.

“I was scouted by Chunga when Trojan was playing against Eiffel Flats in the decider to get promotion into the Premiership,” he recalls.

“Initially, Arcadia officials had come to assess Eiffel Flats players but in the end myself, Mavhuto Chapani and goalkeeper Masami Muhoni ended up joining Arcadia.”

At Arcadia, Kondowe teamed up with such players as Craig Payne, Sheppard Muradzikwa, Claudius Zviripayi and Prince Matore among others as they saved the team from the chop that year.

The following year saw Kondowe together with Chapani being lured by Joey Antipas to the newly formed Motor Action where he made a name for himself, winning a number of individual awards.

Although Kondowe was not blessed with a huge imposing figure, he was a thorn in the flesh for his opponents as he never gave them any room to operate in front of the defence.

“I played for Motor Action for five years. I used to commute every day from Bindura to Harare for training session because I was also working in Bindura,” he says.

“Throughout my career I should say Motor Action was the best club that I ever played for. Eric Rosen was a professional man. I was provided with everything and I enjoyed my game there.

“I won a number of individual awards like the team’s best player of the season, the club’s most improved player among other things. We also reached the final BP Cup final where we lost to Dynamos.”

With remarkable performances for the Mighty Bulls, Kondowe quickly caught the attention of newly promoted Mwana Africa, who used their financial muscle to lure the midfielder back to Bindura.

“It was in 2006 when I joined Mwana Africa. I think it’s one of the decision I will always regret in my career because it was a cash driven move.

“If I had stayed at Motor Action I think I could have gone far with my career.  At first things were okay but later on it became a disaster. I think I enjoyed my stay at Mwana for only a season. The rest was history.”

That Mwana Africa team had seasoned players like Chipo Tsodzo, Costa Maradzike, Blessing Gumiso, Webster Muronda, Graham Ncube, Tendai Mwarura, Amidu Mndelemani, Lovemore Makwavarara, Charles Maguraushe, among others.

And during their short stay in the Premiership they won the CBZ Cup, Independence Cup, OK Woza Bhora and the Nestle Charity Shield Cup beating giants Dynamos, CAPS United and Highlanders along the way.

After cutting ties with Mwana, Kondowe went on to join Shooting Stars.

Kondowe reckons Chunga, Antipas and Rahman Gumbo as best coaches he ever worked with.

Currently Kondowe is not actively involved in football but hopes to become a full time coach in the near future.

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