Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, at least, Ginimbi knew these Warriors are our true celebrities . . . take a bow to fearless newboy Jordan, a guy with a proper football surname
IT’S very likely that the last football jersey Genius Kadungure wore was probably Aston Villa’s iconic claret-and-blue shirt.
I’m not sure if, during his colourful time on earth — a life he played out in the public spotlight like an extended member of the Kardashian family – he had any passion for football.
But, for a man known predominantly by his nickname, Ginimbi, he certainly wouldn’t have been out of place in a game with a history of idolising such fancy adopted identities.
Pele, Xavi, Robinho, Marcelino, Bojan, Pato, Nani, Casemiro, Isco, Kleberson, Fernandinho, Willian, Denilson, Bojan, Juanfran, — all of them nicknames, which have come to provide a global identity, to some of the game’s top stars.
We will never know if Marvelous Nakamba’s arrival at Villa Park had converted Ginimbi into a fan of the English club and, in the process, he developed, or was in the process of developing, a love affair with our beautiful game.
Whatever the case about his passion, or lack of it, Ginimbi’s fleeting romance with Villa, will always be defined by those images which circulated on social media, with him looking proud, and comfortable, in the club’s claret-and-blue jersey.
Ironically, he was born in the shadow of Villa’s finest hour — just two years after the Birmingham club won the European Cup in 1982.
Under the guidance of manager Tony Barton, Villa beat Bayern Munich 1-0 in Rotterdam, Netherlands, through a 67th minute goal from Peter Withe, to be crowned champions of Europe.
Two years later, Ginimbi was born.
If, indeed, he had converted into a Villa fan, there is no shame in that because the Birmingham club are part of the game’s aristocracy.
The first club, in the world to sanction a three-figure transfer fee, when they paid £100 in 1893, to acquire the services of Scottish forward, Willie Groves, from local rivals West Bromwich Albion.
The first English top-flight league side to appoint a manager, from outside the British Isles, when they hired Slovak tactician, Jozef Venglos, in July 1990.
The first football club to attract a record 121 919 fans, the highest pre-World War I record to watch an FA Cup match, when they took on Sunderland at Crystal Palace, on April 19, 1913.
The club which has scored more goals, in the history of the FA Cup, than any other side, 817 goals, to date and which has more wins (145) and more goals (457) than any other team in the history of the League Cup.
The club whose home, Villa Park, was the first English stadium to stage international football matches, in three different centuries, and the one which has hosted more FA Cup semi-finals (55), than any other stadium.
Not a bad football club to be associated with, even for a fleeting moment, towards the end of a life which was lived in the fast lane.
If Ginimbi wasn’t a passionate football fan, there’s no question his rock-and-roll star lifestyle, resembled that of the majority of this game’ superstars.
A fleet of luxurious, and powerful, road machines, a mansion, expensive champagne, designer clothes, you name it.
He showcased them all, providing the world, now and again, with a glimpse of his acquisitions, unperturbed whether we judged him or not, whether we liked it or not.
It was his life, he was the one who lived it and he didn’t care what anyone else thought, because – as he told me one day — everyone just lives once.
Try to make the best out of it my brother, he would say, so that you don’t have to regret anything tomorrow.
After all, he would say, with that assurance, which bordered on cockiness, yesterday is history and tomorrow is a mystery.
He was only 36 when he died, in a horror car crash, on Sunday morning.
The same way, and the same age, when Diana, the Princess of Wales, died on August 31, 1997, in Paris.
The same age when Hollywood’s most famous blonde sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe died, on August 4, 1962.
The same age when Bob Marley, one of the greatest, and most influential, artistes of all-time, died of cancer on May 11, 1981.
STAR-STRUCK, DRESSED LIKE A FAN, HE SHOWED US SOMETHING ELSE WE TAKE FOR GRANTED
The last time Ginimbi talked about football, or about a footballer, and dressed like a fan of the game, was that day when he met Nakamba last month.
He appeared genuinely star-struck, meeting an English Premiership footballer, the only one from Southern Africa playing in that tough league today.
For me, that said something, to see the ultimate showman, a man who thrived in the spotlight, finding someone whom he could call “man of the moment”.
Maybe, it was the respect, with Ginimbi appreciating the journey which Nakamba has travelled, from the coalfield of Hwange to Birmingham, where he now pockets about £60 000 a month.
Maybe, it was just the acknowledgement that someone who goes into weekly battles against global football superstars like Kevin De Bruyne, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Paul Pogba, watched by hundreds of millions of fans around the world, deserves special appreciation.
Or, maybe, it was just his way of saying that our leading professional footballers, because of the extra burden they carry on their shoulders, flying the country’s flag in endless battles in the jungles of African football, are the genuine, and bigger, celebrities.
While we might not appreciate them, as much as we should, simply because of who we are, as a people, more fascinated with negativity and captured by a cancer of hate, these guys are our real celebrities.
Our attitude towards them doesn’t really change the fact that people Nakamba are, indeed, our huge stars.
One just needs to look at the beautiful chaos which erupted in Tanzania, in January this year, when one of their own, Mbwana Samatta, made his debut for Aston Villa in a League Cup semi-final match against Leicester.
We had thousands of fans packing a stadium in Dar-es-Salaam, just to watch their local hero on big television screens and, that he only featured for 32 minutes, after being introduced as a 68th minute substitute, wasn’t even an issue for those Tanzanians.
The Times of London newspaper even ran a headline screaming that “one million tune in from Tanzania for Mbwana Samatta’s debut.’’
And, to imagine that this is a footballer who only scored twice, for Villa and, after just nine months, was off-loaded to Turkish giants Fenerbahce, puts into perspective the difference between them and us.
On the day it was announced Samatta had left Villa for a loan deal to Turkey, which could be turned into a permanent transfer, there was a huge shift on the Birmingham club’s Instagram page, which lost over 30 000 likes, from Tanzanian fans, in just 24 hours.
“Immediately after the transfer was announced, Tanzanians descended on the Villa Instagram page to unfollow it, with most of them saying they are now heading to Turkey with ‘our son,’’’ reported Goal.com.
By Friday evening, the page which had over 1095k likes had dropped significantly with the number standing at 880k likes on Saturday morning.
“Ninja Damour wrote: ‘Let us unfollow this page, and this club, we are now boarding to Turkey, we should follow our son.’’’
Out there, in places like Tanzania and Algeria, the raw passion which these football stars generate among their fans is just something else and, the love affair, is out of this world.
Maybe, unlike the Tanzanians and the Algerians, we are a conservative lot, and don’t seem so obsessed with the star status of our players.
It appears we are more concerned about our team itself, the Warriors, than who are the stars of that team, the ones who make the difference, between us having a peaceful night, celebrating a victory, and a terrible one, mourning a defeat.
Would, for instance, Knowledge Musona bring First Street to a standstill if he were to take a walk down that street, looking to buy his mother a thing, or two, or he will just be ignored, like any other ordinary fellow, walking down that street?
In other countries, someone like him, who has given 10 of his best years, as an adult, to the service of his country, would be a hero.
Someone like him, who topped the scoring charts to help his under-achieving national team, finally find a way to end almost a decade of a no-show, at the AFCON finals, can hardly walk in the city.
He would be mobbed by hundreds of fans delighted to see their hero among them, desperate to shake his hand, in some wild cases, even desperate to kiss his golden shoe, it will cause such mayhem the police would have to be called in to provide control.
That he didn’t do, as well as they expected, in the last AFCON finals, where he struggled to shake off an injury, would be forgotten, in that melee of happiness, on that oasis of joy, on that island of boundless love.
The reason is simple, these aren’t a people with short memories.
They are not fair-weather fans, those who only see the beauty of these boys’ contributions when the team wins.
A people who then forget everything good these boys would have done, to the extent of treating them as outcasts, on the occasions the team loses.
Maybe, we didn’t choose to see the powerful hidden message, when Ginimbi posed in that Villa shirt, and appeared to be going crazy after seeing Nakamba because, in our world, it’s the negativity that counts.
The message was that Nakamba should, indeed, be a cult-hero in his country.
And, if the ultimate showman like Ginimbi could see it, why is it that we seem unable to see that?
AND, THEN, A GUY CALLED JORDAN, WITH A PROPER FOOTBALL SURNAME, CAME ALONG
Ginimbi is set to be buried today at his mansion in Domboshawa, the final chapter to a life in which he lived his dream, whatever he was doing, and however he was doing it.
Ironically, today is also the 21st birthday of Jordan Zemura.
The latest member of the British Brigade, to be added to the Warriors, Jordan was born in South London.
His Lambeth community prides itself in having given the world celebrities like singer David Bowie, actor Charlie Chaplin, footballer Kieran Gibbs and former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone.
South London is known for being a breeding ground for some of the finest footballers to grace the game and the likes of Glen Johnson, Chris Smalling, Rio Ferdinand, Stuart Parker, David Rocastle, Victor Moses, Wilfried Zaha and Ian Wright, are boys from the hood.
Another Jordan, the English Sancho, who was ridiculously priced at more than £100m by Borussia Dortmund, when Manchester United came knocking for his services, is also from South London.
Long before our Jordan made his debut for the Warriors on Thursday, in the toughest match possible, just two days short of his 21st birthday, his surname was already synonymous with domestic football.
Reuben Zemura was a long-time influential member of Chauya Chikwata, back in the days when Zimbabwe Saints were a football club, before the factions destroyed what used to be a golden franchise for the domestic game.
Then, in the year Jordan was born, 1999, another Zemura emerged, in the black-and-and-white kingdom of the City of Kings, in the form of a powerful forward who, at first, was dismissed as a hopeless case before his talent, and goals, helped win over the critics.
His real name is Zenzo Moyo.
They call him Zemura at Bosso, the one this proud club would turn to, for the supply of goals, during a period, at the turn of the millennium, when they flexed their powerful muscles, and built a strong foundation of success, unrivalled in their lengthy history.
Four league championships on the bounce, to match the record which their biggest rivals Dynamos had set between 1980 and 1983, was the stuff of dreams and their Zemura was one of those who laid that foundation.
He still lives in his beloved hometown today, and is heavily involved in the game where he is one of the administrators at Premiership club Bulawayo City.
As a former striker, Bosso’s Zemura would certainly have been impressed, watching the Warriors’ Zemura, showing very little respect for the African champions, playing with the authority of a seasoned player and refusing to be buried by the grand setting.
It didn’t take long for us to see that this is a player who has been, and is being, properly coached — his positional discipline, his alertness, with or without the ball, his reaction time, his willingness to receive the ball and carry it forward.
This was as beautiful a sight, for a Warriors fan, as it gets.
That he was playing on a left-sided channel, where Divine Lunga was struggling, kept putting into context the great shift he was putting for the cause of his country.
It’s always nice to see a young, promising Warrior come along, one who doesn’t wilt under pressure, even when the coach decided to give him a baptism of fire by throwing him into the deep end, against Algeria, of all teams.
Hopefully, this is just the start of a beautiful, and long-term romance, between the Warriors and Jordan.
And, crucially, it shows there are probably many Jordans out there and this British Brigade crew will, in the long run, be really beneficial to our team.
If Bournemouth had only added a point to their tally, last season, Jordan would have come home, for his debut, as an English Premiership player.
It’s a pity he wouldn’t have met Ginimbi, someone who appeared to see the real celebrity status, of these EPL stars.
Someone who, in his unique way, taught us to appreciate our boys even more because, after all, they are the only ones we have and we are the only fans they really have.
To God Be The Glory!
Peace to the GEPA Chief, the Big Fish, George Norton and all the Chakariboys in the struggle.
Come on Warriors!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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