SINCE the advent of a national top-flight football league in the early 1960s, local fans have marvelled at some eye-catching combinations between members from the same family.
But who were the most skilful, successful — and to a certain extent — the most telepathic combinations?
Out of the many crafty combinations over the years, I have singled out particular family “operations” that stood out and provided a lot of healthy debates after matches.
The early days of a national league that was split into two regions, namely Southern and Northern, coal-mining side Wankie (now Hwange) had probably the finest brothers combination which was a well-marshalled rearguard that contained the duo of the Rendo brothers — Amos and Daniel.
The early success story of “Chapangano” was built on a rocky defensive foundation that was difficult to penetrate, thanks to Amos and Daniel.
The former would later feature for the senior national team and be one of the Soccer of the Year finalists in the early ‘70s.
Wankie’s arch-rivals Highlanders had the menacing and attacking trio of the Tsumbe brothers — Paul, Kenneth and Edward.
Paul would later join Northern Region side St Paul’s, nicknamed the “The Davies Babes” where he was part of the history-making side that won the national league title under coach Father Anthony Davies in 1967 (the first time a side from outside Harare and Bulawayo had achieved that feat).
It would take a whopping 50 years for that record to be wiped away after Zvishavane-based FC Platinum wiped away the Murehwa club’s record in 2017.
Northern Region side City Wanderers had the attacking duo of brothers Allan “Teacher” Hlatywayo and younger brother Dennis “Danger” Hlatywayo who were both devastating in front of goal.
Allan would later become a founder member of Dynamos in 1963 whilst Dennis would later join newly-formed Rufaro Rovers under the tutelage of just-arrived Scottish mentor John Rugg where he (Dennis) teamed-up with the likes of defender Peter “Skipper” Manyara and ‘keeper Elliot Mutepfa.
After hanging up his boots following a successful career at Dynamos and Arcadia United, Allan rose through the ranks to become the first black Sports Editor of The Herald soon after Independence.
The 1970s era also produced many exciting siblings’ attractive inter-play on the pitch.
Top of that list was in the shape of a Mangula side known as the Copper Miners who were driven by the ingeniously talented quartet of the Chieza brothers: Isaac, Tendai, George and Itai – who also played alongside their uncle Winston in the side’s starting line-up.
The bearded Tendai, a midfield genius nicknamed “Teacher”, was crowned the Soccer Star of the Year in 1970 following a breathtaking season’s outing which had attracted the interest of a few European clubs.
Whilst Isaac was equally at home as a right back, left back or centre back, George as a burly tearaway right-winger who sent in perfect crosses for the youngest member of the family, Itai, to head home from his centre striker’s position.
During the same era, the high-density suburb of Highfield in Harare, where crack outfit Black Aces drew their thousands of fans from, had an awesome and young attacking combination of brothers Bernard and George Kuwana.
George, who was the younger sibling, was the tormentor-in-chief for many a defence during the club’s heydays where he also had the support of a menacing, dribbling artist and left winger called Bernard “Machipisa” Dzingayi.
Zimbabwe Saints also had the industrious midfield duo of Max and Itai Tshuma.
Arcadia United had the two defensive brothers of Herman “Sea Cottage” Hendrickse and Raymond “Big Boy” Hendrickse.
Dynamos also had the Trojan horse midfield pair of Shaw and Peter Handriade.
By far, the following decade had the largest and most exciting contingent of brothers’ combinations ever.
And the pick of that 1980s crop was from Dynamos — the formidable trio of the Chunga brothers — Kembo and Moses, who were later joined by their younger brother, Dickson in that explosive and attacking set-up.
Moses, then nicknamed “Razorman”, was a tearaway right-winger who was equally at home while playing as an attacking linkman just behind his elder brother, Kembo, and the two would make scoring goals as easy as shelling peas.
Moses, now known as “Bambo”, still holds the record for scoring the highest number of goals since Independence – a whopping 46 finishes at the end of the 1986 season.
In that same decade, the Glamour Boys would also produce a farther and amazing siblings’ combinations of the central defence pairing of Sunday and Misheck Chidzambwa; midfielders Clayton and Jonah Munemo and the striker-defender pairing of Edward and Lloyd Katsvere.
Arcadia United produced the pair of crunch-tackling right back Majid “Smokey” Dhana and stylish midfielder, Hamid “Muzukuru” Dhana.
The ‘90s decade brothers’ combinations were headlined by the enterprising Bosso trio of Madinda (who had already stolen the limelight in the previous decade), Adam and Peter.
The trio remains the only three brothers worldwide to have played for their senior national team at the same time! Adamski is the second highest scorer (behind Chunga) after Independence, having amassed a total of 31 goals during the 1991 season.
Air Force of Zimbabwe side Chapungu had the blistering pair of “terrible twins” Abel and Cain who also starred for the Young Warriors side.
When Black Aces landed the league title under coach Peter “Thunderboots” Nyama in 1992, their progressive route to success was driven by the attacking force of another set of “terrible twins”: William and Wilfred “Silver Fox” Mugeyi.
Shaisa Mufaro, as Black Aces were affectionately known by their thousands of fans, also had two stylish brothers, Shadreck “Waga Waga” Dzvairo and Magarika “Maga Dogg” Dzvairo, who played in the same team with the Mbidzo brothers – John and Davies — in the 1990s.
The Mbidzo brothers were later joined at Aces by their other sibling, Farai, who went on to feature for the Premiership title-winning CAPS United side in 1996 under coach Steve “The Dude” Kwashi.
DeMbare were served by hard-tackling defender Tichaona Murehwa and his deceptive and stylish brother, midfielder Tauya “Flying Doctor” Murehwa.
The side had also employed the services of an impressive defensive pairing made up Garnett “Ganza” Muchongwe and Edward “Major Murefu” Muchongwe.
The turn of the century would also provide fans with some flourishing displays from siblings’ combinations and the most dazzling of those came from the Bosso defensive and creative hub of the Ngodzo brothers – Johannes “Signature”, Zephania “Super Zeph” and Joel “Josta”,who were a pure marvel to watch.
The Green Machine of CAPS United had the 2004 league title winning duo of brothers Elton “Softaz” and Cephas “Mboma” Chimedza who provided the clinical touches for their legion of fans.
And the most current and exciting combination is that of the attacking trio of brothers Blessing, Archmore and Brighton Majarira of Herentals College FC.
As we wait for the new season next March, we will all wait and ponder about the next family members’ sensational build-ups to keep us jumping up and down from our seats.