Triumph of brains over brawn

HARARE - Footballers are generally a predictable lot especially when it comes to making career choices after their playing days are over.

After hanging up their boots, most footballers generally choose to go into coaching or taking up football-oriented roles elsewhere.

However, former Mwana Africa defender Alfred “Chibheka” Chinodakufa has taken up a different role outside the pitch.

Chinodakufa made a name for himself at the now-defunct Mwana Africa as a monster in defence, and was widely known for his combative style of play.

The CBZ Cup winner showed that he was not just all about brawn on the football pitch, but he is also adept in the field of academics.

Chinodakufa was among the thousands of graduates capped by President Robert Mugabe at The Great Zimbabwe University on Friday where he graduated with a Masters Degree in Strategic Management.

For Chinodakufa though his friend and former team mate Mavhuto Chapani was his biggest inspiration in taking the academic path.

“There are situations where your friends get to inspire you a lot. In my case, I was largely inspired by some of my friends like Chapani and Milton Nyamadzawo,” Chinodakufa revealed to the Daily News on Sunday.

“It was mainly because of association and I also had basic academic background which enabled me to reach this stage. I challenged myself to follow in the footsteps of my peers and I am glad I have reached this far.”

Chinodakufa, who is already working as a Project Safety Officer at Bindura Nickel Corporation, says it was not an easy road balancing books and family at the same time.

“It was never an easy road but if you have perseverance and focus nothing is impossible,” Chinodakufa said.

“You will be trying to balance books with the family and you really need to stay focused. It required hard work and I’m happy with the support I got from my family. They supported me throughout.”

Chinodakufa, who is a proud holder of a Caf B coaching licence continued: “When I started this programme I had to temporarily shelve everything to do with soccer. Football is a very demanding profession and I needed maximum concentration.”

Chinodakufa is, however, not ruling out a return to the sport.

“Chances of coming back are there and I’m even looking at enrolling for Caf A licence course. I have a Caf B licence. There is nowhere I can completely stay out of football. It’s the game I love so much and I hope to contribute in any way I can to the sport.”

The 42-year-old had advice for the upcoming youngsters: “My message to the youngsters is to stay away from drugs and concentrate on reaching greater heights. A football career is very short and you need to make use of it.”

Chinodakufa grew up in Highfield, where he came through the ranks of Black Aces Juniors, to become one of the best defenders of his time.

The tall stopper made headlines when he joined Mwana Africa in 2005 from Division One and instantly became a pillar in their defence.

At Mwana Africa, Chinodakufa helped the team lift the then richest knockout tournament in Zimbabwe, the CBZ Cup, and went on to represent the country in the Confederations Cup, where they went as far as the fourth round.

Then, under the guidance of Highlanders great Willard Mashinkila Khumalo, Mwana Africa knocked out FC Munda of Zanzibar in the first round, beat Inter Club of Cameroon in the second, and dismissed Etoile Filante of Burkina Faso before being booted out in the fourth round by TP Mazembe.

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