Homela destroyed Zim Saints - Hunidzarira

HARARE - Jethro ‘‘Chemmy’’ Hunidzarira will forever regret the day Gibson Homela returned to the Zimbabwe Saints technical department in 1988.

Hunidzarira was a key member of that 1988 championship winning side but quit the club in a huff once Homela was appointed in the Chauya Chikwata technical setup.

The midfielder had spent 12 successful years with the Bulawayo-based club he had joined as a 12-year-old boy.

Homela returned to Zimbabwe Saints towards the end of the 1988 season with only four games to go after he had been fired as the Zimbabwe national team coach.

This did not go down well with Hunidzarira, who felt that the former Warriors defender did not have anything new to offer.

At that time, Roy Baretto was the coach and had led Saints to a record 23-game unbeaten run and they had also bagged the Chibuku Trophy.

“I personally asked the club bosses what position he was going to be given, and they said ‘We are going to see’,” Hunidzarira told the Daily News.

“I think by then we were looking for only three more points to wrap the league with about four games to go.

“We won that weekend and guess what the headline in the newspaper was, ‘Homela puts icing on Saints cake,’ but I questioned myself why these people were giving credit to a person who did not contribute anything throughout the season.

“After that game I quit, the technical team tried to talk to make me change my mind to finish the season but I refused because I had already made my decision.

“I did not even collect my championship medal, as the environment was not conducive for me. I did not have any personal differences with Homela but the man has a very huge ego and is a big bully.

“He believes he has the best brains when it comes to football.”

The 52-year-old Hunidzarira believes the current sorry situation at Zimbabwe Saints is also down to Homela’s egocentric character.

Chauya Chikwata, one of Zimbabwe’s traditional football giants, is now defunct after their relegation from the Premiership in the 2011 season.

“Up until now he (Homela) believes that he is Zimbabwe Saints but the team is bigger than any individual,” said Hunidzarira.

“As long as mukoma Gibbie (Homela) is involved nothing good will happen at Zimbabwe Saints. He is someone who puts his own interests ahead of the team.

“I know it’s a sensitive issue at Saints but people are afraid to say it out, they suffer silently but it hurts me because that is my team till death.

“I strongly believe that the 1988 Saints squad would have gone on to dominate Zimbabwean football for more than five years if it was not  for Homela considering that most of us were in our early 20s then.”

Hunidzarira was promoted into the Saints first team in 1980 after graduating from the juniors and still has vivid memories of his debut against Highlanders that season.

“I still remember during that game Peter Kavisa was injured by Peter “Oxo” Nkomo and I was excited because it was my first game playing for the seniors,” he recalls.

After his debut, Hunidzarira was loaned to Triangle FC in 1982 were he played alongside the likes of Eric Aisam, Aaron Tsuro, Givy Nyahuma, Andrew Nkosi,  Bonny Dimbanje and  Regis Dimingo.

By then Hunidzarira was training as an artisan at Triangle Limited.

The Bulawayo-born footballer spent only two years at Triangle FC before he was recalled to Chauya Chikwata.

Upon his return, the fledgling Hunidzarira teamed with other fellow talented players such as Ephraim “Rocky” Chawanda, Misheck “Roadblock” Sibanda, Josephat “Mazhambe” Humbasha, Jimmy Phiri, Obey Sova, Henry “Bully” McKop, George Ayibu and the late Melusi Nkiwane and Joseph Machingura to form the base of Zimbabwe Saints.

“I really enjoyed my game playing alongside some of the most gifted footballers in the country. To me that 1988 squad is one of the best teams in the history of the Zimbabwean league.”

After quitting Saints, Hunidzarira relocated to Botswana where he is currently based, played for Mochudi Centre Chiefs and Taffic FC.

“We formed a social soccer team here in Botswana with former Zimbabwe players such as Themba Lunga, Boniface Moyo and Webster Kurwaisimba,” he said.

“This team participates in annual tournaments involving retired players from South Afriica, Mozambique, Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland.”

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