BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
FORMER Warriors and Kaizer Chiefs midfield lynch-pin Tinashe Nengomasha has revealed that he would have become a policeman had the football gods not endowed him with a gift that made him one of the finest players ever to emerge from Zimbabwe.
Nengomasha, a product of the Black Aces Academy, spent over 10 years at South Africa’s glamour club Amakhosi where he made more than 300 appearances in all competitions to cement his status as a legend at the club.
Ironically, while he could not realise his dream to become a police officer, Nengomasha marshalled the midfield like a true law enforcement agent.
Nengomasha earned befitting nicknames, “The General” and “Father,” during his football career in recognition of the organisational skills and combative nature that made him a firm fan favourite at the glamorous Soweto club.
The 38-year-old legendary midfielder made known his other dream during an interview with renowned South African sports caster Robert Marawa on his programme Night with Legends.
“I grew up in a rough neighbourhood where I saw the youngsters indulging in drugs because of how cruel society can be especially in the ghetto where you are exposed to a lot of things,” Nengomasha said.
“So I wanted to be a policeman because most of my friends ended up losing their (football) talent because of drug abuse. I have always wanted to be part of the police force where all of these things can be kicked out of the society especially in the high density-suburbs where we are coming from,” the former Warriors star said.
But his immense football talent snatched him from the ghetto when he was a teenager and thrust him in a big club like Kaizer Chiefs and contributed to the club’s success.
He was South Africa PSL Footballer of the Year and Players, Player of the Year in the memorable 2003-2004 season.
Nengomasha retired in 2016 having also played for Bidvest Wits and Cape Town All-Stars in South Africa apart from local clubs Motor Action and Black Aces.
The player, who is in the process of acquiring his coaching badges, laid bare his hopes to go into football administration instead of coaching or scouting.
“I would rather be an administrator. I feel especially in my country that most of the teams they don’t have former players who are incorporated within the administrative structures of the club.
“Former players can come up with brand new ideas on how the club can move forward. Football has evolved in terms of marketing and the technical part of the game. Most players we rush into coaching yet in the management of clubs we do not have any former players,” he said.
The Glen Norah, bred star also stirred the hornet’s nest when he suggested that the Warriors side coached by the late Reinhard Fabisch would have made the World Cup had it not been for Zifa.
“That team was powerful if everything was correct in terms of our football association. I think that team would have gone to the Wold Cup. But because of certain things beyond the players’ control, we always ended not getting to where the team was supposed to be,” Nengomasha said without explaining further.
Nengomasha, who is now based in Zimbabwe, also revealed that he has been helping a number of local players with tips on keeping fit during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown which has negatively impacted local football.
“I have a lot young players who are always seeking advice in this moment and time because the league hasn’t started because of the pandemic. Most of these players forget that they are footballers, they need to keep up with their fitness because you never know when the season will start.
“Recently the national team was in the Chan tournament and we didn’t perform well because most of these boys will be sitting home forgetting that their real job is to play football, that is how they get paid
“Most of them are always asking for tips and through technology we try to hold as many sessions as possible with some of them,” Nengomasha said.
A product of Churchill Boys High School in Harare and later the now-defunct Harare side Black Aces, Nengomasha got his breakthrough when he starred for the Young Warriors in the Under-20 cosafa at the start of the century where he attracted the interest of Chiefs, Jomos Cosmos and Wits University.
But it was Chiefs who won the starlet after owner Bobby Motaung flew to Zimbabwe to meet Nengomasha’s family.
The move would be the beginning of storied professional career for Nengomasha as he instantly became a sensation at the South African club, combining his trademark combativeness with his accurate range of passing which made him grow into an all-around linkman.
“Father” won two successive titles with Chiefs – 2003/04 and 2004/05 – ending a seven-year league title drought at the South African glamour club in addition to as many MTN8 Cups, the Nedbank Cup, five Telkom Knockout trophies and three Vodacom Challenges.
He also claimed a host of individual honours, but the crowning moment of his career was when he was named Player of the Season for 2003/04 season and in addition to being voted the Players’ Player of the Season by his peers.
He was part of the Warriors’ team that played in the 2004 afcon finals held in Tunisia before wounding up his career with stints at South African clubs Bidvest Wits, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Cape Town All Stars.