Home » Sports » Loyalty Ruined My Career – Dondo

If there is any person that Dynamos fans would never forgive, it is former national team right-back and Masvingo United player-coach Godfrey “Mai Mahofa” Dondo.

The former dreadlocked hard-tackling defender was blamed for prematurely ending Dynamos’ promising youngster Samson Choruwa’s career after a crude tackle in a league match at Mucheke in 2002.

The then DeMbare coach Moses “Bambo” Chunga had taken his time to scout for talented youngsters who the fans later dubbed “Kidznet.”

The team had the likes of Choruwa, Eddie Mashiri, Leo Kurauzvione and Norman Maroto.

After the tackle, which to many looked fair, Choruwa’s career was never the same again. He had to be stretchered off but the referee did not even show Dondo a yellow card. Weeks later, Dondo was shocked to hear that Choruwa’s career was in danger.

“As a professional footballer, I always regret having tackled Choruwa. It’s not easy to have fingers pointed at you for having cut short a footballing career of a promising player like him. But I just have to say this: deep down from my heart, the tackle was not meant to do him any harm,” said Dondo.

However, the roving right-back blames his loyalty to Masvingo United as the biggest setback in his football career which is entering into its 12th year.

In an interview with Standardsport, Dondo opened up about the prospects of his career, saying if he had moved to bigger clubs like Highlanders and Dynamos, he could be playing outside the country now.

“When Masvingo United [Una Una] was still in the Premier Soccer League [PSL] a lot of big clubs including Highlanders and Dynamos were after my signature, but I would refuse. Playing for Masvingo United was fantastic. I was so comfortable,” said Dondo.

But after failing to attract any interest from clubs beyond borders and with his career reaching its twilight zone, Dondo now regrets having turned down opportunities that he would have used as spring boards of exposure.

Dondo believes Bosso and DeMbare are favourites for foreign scouts.

“I have a feeling that if I had joined Highlanders or DeMbare I could have gone far. I now regret having lost the opportunities. Back then, I think I was one of the best right-backs in the country competing with the likes of Rowen Nenzou and Noel Kaseke,” added Dondo.

Dondo spoke about his disappearance from topflight football, adding that although most people thought he was no longer playing football, he feels his legs still have the energy to carry him through.

“Local clubs, coaches and fellow players think that I am no longer playing football. I am even ready to play for the national team,” Dondo said.

The Level One coaching certificate holder remains optimistic that Masvingo United will one day bounce back in topflight league.

“We have been there in the topflight league and we have been there in the unfashionable world of Division One. We know all the things that happen there. What we need to do is to keep focused. The major setback has been the lack of sponsorship which might be on its way soon. As long as we get sponsors, we will fight hard to come back into the league.”

The 36-year-old started his football career with Zimbabwe Saints junior teams in the City of Kings in the late 80s.

Graduating from Chauya Chikwata, Dondo became a force to reckon with when he joined Masvingo United in 1997 before helping the busmen gain promotion in 1999.

Masvingo was sponsored by Mhunga Bus operator, Tanda Tavaruva.

The team got relegated in 2003 before making a quick come-back into the league the following year.

His year of recognition came in 2006 when he was selected as one of the Soccer Stars of the Year finalists. His form in that season earned him recognition to the national team under the guidance of Charles Mhlauri. He went on to be capped three times as he played two matches in a tournament in Mozambique and another friendly match in Zambia.

At Masvingo, Dondo captained the likes of Ovidy Karuru, who is plying his trade in Belgium and Costa Nhamoinesu, currently with Czech Republic side Sparta Prague.

In 2009, Dondo quit the club he wanted most for Division One football at the then Mimosa FC, now FC Platinum. Dondo and other players helped Mimosa gain promotion in 2011.

After playing in the opening matches of the 2011 season, in came Rahman Gumbo who then showed them the exit door, forcing Dondo to retrace his footprints to Masvingo United.

The player. who now spot an English Cut hairstyle, has been loyal to the busmen until today.

Under his belt, Dondo has five major cups, the Zifa Unity Cup twice in 2002 and 2005 and the Zimbabwe Independence Trophy in 2006 and 2007 as well as the Ok Woza Bhora Trophy in 2005.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard