Arnold Jani's tears for Shabanie Mine

HARARE - Shabanie Mine’s financial turmoil that triggered the club’s demise into the Central Region Division One League and ignited a mass exodus of key players has tormented many who hold the club dear to their hearts.

None more so than Arnold Jani, who has been part of the Chinda Boys for more than a decade.

“Sometimes I wish that one day I will wake up and find everything as it was when I first came here but hey…only God knows why things are this way,” Jani tells the Daily News.

“Shabanie Mine is my home. When I first came here it was both for football and for work. I’m a Plant Operator. And that’s the case for many players who have passed through this club. They had different professions and a decent accommodation.”

Dunga, as he was nicknamed in his pomp after the former Brazil captain of the same name, came to Shabanie Mine from Masvingo United at the turn of the millennium.

At Shabanie Mine, he would go on to join such players as Albert Mbano, Patrick Mandizha, Zvenyika Makonese, Shadreck Malunga, Stephen Matsaire, Andrew Chisunga among others.

“I regard that as the club’s golden era,” says Jani.

“We didn’t have many accolades but I it was a really competitive team.

“Come 2005, I was chosen by John Phiri to support him as his assistant. From then up to today I have been in the Shabanie Mine coaching structures.”

A decade on, Jani is now faced with the task of heading an interim technical team that is preparing the club for life in the lower leagues.

Shabanie Mine had earlier tried to purchase the Premier Soccer League franchise of newly promoted side Hwahwa Prison but that never materialised.

“I think the reopening of the mine will change a lot of things because this football club which made me who I am today feeds from the coffers of this company,” Jani says.

“I also urge the business people of Zvishavane to assist the football club for the sake of the community and the supporters.”

Jani started off his football career at Rio Tinto in 1989.

“I had been scouted by John Rugg. Unfortunately I didn't play under him. I later played under Joseph Zulu and Peter Phiri, when Rio Tinto was now Eiffel Flats.

“Things were a bit tough because I was young, slim and short. This team had big guys, the likes of Shepard Muradzikwa, Bonface Chiseko, Abraham Mwanza (late) and Abel Kolowa.

“In 1992 I moved to Kwekwe Stars. I was 20 and still staying with my brother in law, he wanted me to have another profession different from playing football. So I took up a refrigeration repair course whilst I was playing football at the same time.

“I later moved to Masvingo United where I linked up with Silver Bhebhe, Chipo Tsodzo, Moses Williams, Musaleka Jenitala and Tembo Chuma. My last journey was to Shabanie Mine and I have been here ever since.”

Jani says he has had some unforgettable experiences as a player.

“I only had one call up for the Warriors but I failed to travel, my passport only arrived the night before the team’s travel date to Ghana,” he says.

Speaking on the future of Shabanie Mine, the 43-year-old coach is optimistic.

“It’s sad that this is all happening when the club is turning 100 years old but our going down doesn’t mean we are folding. There is a lot talent in the Midlands and don’t count us out on returning net year.”

Comments (1)

jani my advice to you bis to move on. you saw the company falling and now the football team. so what are you still doing at shabanie mine? ooh you think someone will reopen the mine? if that is the case then dream on brother. now that you have got the house which you never thought you will have in your life move on. you are a hard core shabanian my brother, that mine had been milked to the core ask shamhuyarira he will tell you the truth about that mine. haichamuki hama yangu.

antonio - 9 February 2015

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