Home » Sports » Dinha Wants to Give Back to Rugby

AFTER a fine career that took him to Germany to play the professional game, former Zimbabwe rugby captain Costa Dinha says he is ready to give back to the game that gave him fame by imparting knowledge and sharing his experience with aspiring younger players. Dinha is a rare breed of an athlete in the land, having been privileged to represent Zimbabwe in both rugby and basketball.

It was in rugby, however, that the versatile sportsman got much of his fame as he excelled for Old Hararians, winning domestic titles with them before he moved to Germany.

When he arrived in the German top-flight, he first played for SC Neuenheim, but later switched to local rivals RG Heidelberg.

On his return from Germany after a seven-year spell, Dinha also played for Districts in the national league.

But the former Sables eighthman has now resolved to devote some of his energy to helping identify and develop young talent and this week Dinha told The Herald Sport that he was happy to work with juniors.

Dinha is part of a cast of former Zimbabwe internationals who are in the resort town of Victoria Falls to play a friendly match against their South African counterparts today as part of an initiative by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to boost tourist arrivals in the country.

The former Zimbabwe skipper said it was imperative that rugby players be developed at an early age across the country and is happy to see the game being spread to such centres like Victoria Falls.

Some of the former Zimbabwe players also took time to conduct a coaching clinic at Victoria Falls Primary school.

Dinha said he drew inspiration from the fact that his parents stood by him during his playing career and this helped him excel.

With the support of his parents, Dinha started playing the game while still in Grade Four.

Dinha grew up in Chiredzi in a family of six, in which he is the last born. He went to Hippo Valley Primary, where he started his rugby career.

Ironically, his main sport in those early years was swimming, but all that changed when he enrolled at Prince Edward for his high school and by the time he turned 16 he had drifted to the physical duels of rugby.

Having featured for the Zimbabwe schools rugby team earlier, Dinha made his senior national team debut in 2001 and a year later he had caught the eye and was crowned the runner-up to the Sportsperson of The Year.

After all that success, Dinha now wants to help grow future Sables.

“It is about time that I must give back to all those who are still learning sports. My God and family have been good to me because I have played different types of sport and it was not easy, but I am glad I made it among the best sportsmen

“I remember I was a sports person of the year runner-up at some point, which was won by Mujati the marathon runner.

“I also won numerous Most Valuable Player awards in the Harare Basketball League and a number of other tournaments. I was also the Old Hararians Under-21 Player of the Year in 1998.

“The best doors in sport were really opening for me because I was very ambitious, I was always trying to work hard and the hard work certainly paid off well.

“I won the Lion Lager Player of the Year in 2001 and when I was in Germany I was selected 2006 Bundesliga Player of the year and Players’ Player of the year in the same year.

“I have won seven national league titles in Zimbabwe, six with OH and one with Old Georgians.

“I will always be grateful to the coaches in different sports they were helpful and made me one of the best sportspersons.

“I captained the Sables from 2004 to 2012. We also won the Victoria Cup in 2011 and won the African Cup of Nations in 2012,” Dinha said.

Highly-rated former Sables coach Godwin Murambiwa is among the mentors through whose hands Dinha passed and the ex-Old Boys gaffer often used him as the eighthman.

Murambiwa noted that Dinha had the capacity to use his height, physical strength, forward mobility and agility to break the opposition’s line.

Although his main focus is on development, it is also not lost on Dinha that the Sables, who agonisingly failed to qualify for the 2015 World Cup, need to remain competitive.

“For Zimbabwe rugby to be more competitive and make it on the international stage, we basically need to keep up with the times in terms of the administration of the sport, then the management of players from grassroots level in terms of scouting talent and developing it and nurturing players until they become professionals.

“The bottom line is we need to invest money and time into the sport to achieve a professional setup where rugby can be an actual source of income for all those involved”.

Dinha has also done some community work in Bulawayo and in Harare he has helped in developing teams from Mbare.

“What I enjoy about rugby is the competitiveness that happens on the field, the contact I love making big tackles and off nothing beats running with the ball in hand and dominating the opposition.

“After all is said and done, I love rugby because it has taught me the values of life and because of the game I have made some true friends for life.

“As for playing with the legends, it is all about reliving our playing days and having fun and I know we are all likely to make mistakes in the way we will play, but I am sure we will thoroughly enjoy the game tomorrow.

“From the South African team that is coming, most of these guys are somehow active sports people of some sort. Even though they have retired, they will be fit, aggressive and competitive and while they play for fun, they also play to win”.

Dinha also relived some of the worst moments of his sporting life.

“The worst moment in my rugby career was when I ruptured my patella ligament in a game. I had to look at my knee cap sitting high on the thigh and the worst thing is this I suffered a similar injury a year later on the other knee.

“Luckily, I was in Germany, got operated on and was back on the field after nine months thanks to technology and up now it is like I was given a new set of knees.

“Personally, I would like to see the Zimbabwe legends team grow to allow all former Sables players across the globe a chance to reunite teams of yesteryear and the current ones.

“Such an event builds links between rugby lovers from Zimbabwe, who in turn can then put their heads together to get the sport back to its days of glory where every Zimbabwean player wanted to play for their national team,” said Dinha.

The game against the South Africans provides a platform for rugby to market itself under the auspices of tourism.

Source : The Herald