HomeSportLife begins at 40 for Chandisaita

Life begins at 40 for Chandisaita

IN the sweltering heat of September midday sun, army side Black Rhinos clashed with sister side Cranborne Bullets at Arcadia’s legendary Danny Bismack Stadium last Thursday.

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

The result, a 2-1 win for Stanford Mtizwa’s side was of no effect as the premiership side decided to take advantage of the inactivity this week to have a friendly runout.

For Brighton Chandisaita, age aint nothing but a number

Of note was Rhinos’ veteran defender Brighton Chandisaita who played the whole match, screaming and shouting instructions with yet another sublime performance.

It’s 20 years since the ageless Black Rhinos defender made a mark in the local premier league and he has not lost an ounce of his passion and energy.

On December 18, Chandisaita turns 40, making him one of the oldest players playing in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.

“To be competing at this level for so long is a result of hard work and sometimes I think I overdo it. Lately, my coach was telling me to slow down to avoid fatigue at this age of the season. Whenever I am free, I am at the gym and the gym instructors at One Commando are my best friends,” Chandisaita told Standardsport.

“But I would like to thank God for looking after me and I also thank my coaches and the Black Rhinos executive because they don’t look at my age; they continue to encourage me.”

Brighton Chandisaita (in red uniform) tussles for possession with the then Highlanders player Mthulisi Maphosa (file picture).

Chandisaita has spent his whole football career at Chauya Chipembere, save for two year-long spells at Tongogara in 1996 and Flame Lily in 2014.

But while in the twilight of his career, Chandisaita is not thinking about retiring anytime soon, saying he will play for as long as his body allows him to.

“As long as God continues to keep me fit and injury-free, I will continue to play. My desire is to impart my knowledge and experience to the young guys coming up the ranks,” he said.

Being the most senior player in the squad, Chandisaita has been given the blessing by the coaches to organise and guide the team in the field of play even though he is not the coach.

The art of being vocal is something Chandisaita picked up when he was very young playing for the junior team.

It was the reason why then Rhinos juniors’ coach Drummond Chirova converted the promising striker into a defender, a position from which he could communicate with the rest of the team better.

“I started off as a striker, scoring a lot of goals at junior level. But because I used to talk a lot in the game, Chirova decided to play me as a defender. So, talking has been part of my game for as long as I can remember,” he said.

“It’s a way of encouraging each other and now the coach has entrusted me with the job to talk to the players in the game. I am happy that they listen to me. When I get too quite they tell me it affects our energy level and performance.”

Chandisaita’s career began in the early 1990s when he was in primary school in Warren Park where he grew up.

One Mr Shumba saw him playing in the streets and recommended him to Chirova.

After Roy Barreto, the then Rhinos coach saw potential in him, he sent him on loan to a sister Division One club Tongogara and the Midlands Province-based side won promotion into the league the same year.

He was back playing for Rhinos the following season.

What Chandisaita’s long career is missing are major trophies, but he is satisfied with what football has given him.

“Football gave me a job with the army, serving my country. It earned me a lot of respect in the community and in my family. Now if there are any issues in the family, people are quick to ask, ‘did you teIl Brighton?‘”

Chandisaita is the oldest of several Chandisaita brothers who have graced the local football scene.

His younger brother Phillip played for Buffaloes, while Brian and Bellington played for Lengthens and Black Mambas respectively.

High-flying Nothern Region Division One log leaders Herentals have another Chandisaita sibling Boston who plays as a striker.
Chandisaita’s two sons — Clyde in Form 6 and Brighton Junior in Form 3 — are also footballers at Chindunduma High School.
When retirement inevitably comes, Chandisaita wants to remain in football but not as a coach.

“When I retire, I want to remain in football but I don’t have any passion for coaching. I want to do a course in physical education because that is where my passion is,” he said.

Mutizwa expressed surprise at how well Chandisaita is competing in spite of his age.

“It is surprising us that he has reached this far with his age, but is still playing very well. People who don’t know him will never know that he is almost 40. We are happy having him. He is very inspirational to the young players. We hope he will maintain his high standards so that he can help us achieve what we want to achieve as Black Rhinos,” Mutizwa said.

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