Goalie swaps gloves for guitar

HARARE - Former Dynamos goalkeeper Laban Kandi is enjoying life in showbiz after exchanging the gloves for a music and acting career.

The 62-year-old former stopper, who starred in the Glamour Boys’ 1978 championship winning side, still has vivid memories of that season’s title decider against Wankie (now Hwange).

Kandi received lots of plaudits in that match after he denied the coal miners three times from the spot to earn the Harare giants a famous 2-1 away win at the Colliery to deliver them the league title on the last day of the season.

“My most memorable match was the 1978 league title decider against Wankie at the Colliery when I saved a penalty that was retaken three times in a game we won 2-1 and became champions that year,” Kandi tells the Daily News.

“I would like to believe that the referee had his agenda because the first attempt hit the post and I saved all three retakes after he adjudged that I had moved in all instances.

“But then God is always in total control and I think the ref saw the light after the third save. The last taker was the late goalkeeper Posani Sibanda.”

Kandi established himself in the mid-1970s as a budding footballer while playing against his peers who would later became household names in Harare’s Highfield high density suburb.

The first team he turned out for was Highfield Youth Centre before finally moving on to DeMbare.

“Just like all boys of our time we started playing street football in the dusty streets of Highfield where we would play at Zimbabwe Grounds pitting areas or sections like kuma K, where David ‘Yogi’ Mandigora came from, Engineering Section (Rodrick Muganhiri and Richard ‘Nyoka’ Chihoro), Old Canaan (Oliver Kateya), Zororo area (John Muzveruki), kuma U (Simon Mudzudzu) among others,” he says.

“All these players would later become my first soccer teammates at Highfield Youth Centre where my eldest brother Elisha was a social welfare officer.

“For the record Mandigora, Chihoro and Kateya would later become my teammates at Dynamos in the mid-1970s.”

Kandi had a brief stint with Dynamos juniors in 1969 but succumbed to family pressure which resulted in him going back to Highfield Youth Centre and only to re-join DeMbare in 1975.

“I joined Dynamos as a junior in 1969 but had to go back to Highfield Youth Centre due to pressure from Elisha until he was transferred to Vic Falls,” he says.

“That is when my journey back to Dynamos took me through the original Rufaro Rovers in 1971 to 1972 and Mutanga United 1973-1974.

“I made my Dynamos debut in a match against Wankie in 1975 which was early in the season and we won the game 1-0.”

In 1984, Kandi called time on his fulltime playing career but stayed as a player coach for the Dynamos reserve side, where he played as a striker.

In the reserves side he played alongside the likes of Angirai Chapo, Biggie Zuze, Clayton Munemo, Henry Chari and Stanley Chirambadare, whom he helped groom to become regular starters in the first team.

To enhance his coaching career, Kandi tried his luck in the lower leagues where he took charge of Harare Sheraton (now Rainbow Towers) between 1987 and 1988 in the Zifa Division Two League.

In 1989, he moved to ZRP Tomlinson where he came across a young Claudius Zviripayi and Boniface Kabwe before recommending them to Dynamos the following year.

At Sheraton he also groomed players such as Mike Chipembere and Herbert Mbabvu, who later played for Dynamos and Black Aces respectively.

Kandi was back at Dynamos as a goalkeepers keepers coach in 1994 when he helped to shape the careers of such players as Peter Fanwell, Nkululeko Dhlamini, Tichaona Diya.

He was also instrumental in the recruitment of goalkeepers George Mandizvidza (late), Ernest Chirambadare and Gift Muzadzi.

He was at Dynamos when the team reached the Africa Champions League final where they lost 4-2 to Ivorian side Asec Mimosa although he did not travel for the decisive second leg in Abidjan.

Kandi left club in 2008 to pursue a career in music and acting, something he still enjoys doing to date.

“I left to pursue my other passion as a musician and actor which I’m still doing up to now at a time I am also involved with Maningi Academy as the keepers’ coach for all the teams as well as being the lady’s team head coach,” he said.

“My musical group, which plays heavy rock and Afro jazz, is called Total Package. We have two albums to our credit though they were in our earlier names; Ganyambira and Mixed Grill.

“Maningi has a film section called Maningi Movie Productions where we have so far done eight dramas and we are currently working on a 1hr 30mins Shona movie title ‘Rakazvirova Rikazhamba’ which we believe is a first in Zimbabwe as it involves soccer, karate, murder, romance and action.”

Comments (1)

please tell Kandi to reach me at my email address takaidzamhoshiwa@gmail.com

Takaidza Mhoshiwa - 30 November 2014

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