Home » Sports » Mbidzo Carves Ball Juggling Niche

Hailing from a football-rich family where his father Phillip and his uncle Felix carved their own pieces of soccer history, Desire Mbidzo was destined to pursue a football career.

A talented attacking midfielder during his youthful age, Mbidzo was full of skill and beguiling ball artistry. His dream had always been to make a name in the football fraternity — even taking his prowess to the lucrative European leagues.

With cousins Davies, John and later Farai having made their mark in local football, he knew his was not a too far-fetched dream.

Mbidzo started off at Black Aces junior football where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Francis Jeyiman and Knowledge Zinyama and progressed to don the Eiffel Flats, Unique Select, ZRP Tomlinson and Sporting Lions colours.

And as fate would have it, one day in 1994, the then 23-year-old suffered knee injury that prematurely shut him out of the soccer field. Naturally the young man was devastated, hopes shattered but he did not give up. He chose to pursue other football directions and was soon to find his own unique speciality.

He began by getting himself a coaching badge, training community football and local schools before sometime in 2002, an idea that would change his life and propel him to stardom struck him.

“When I got injured and had my career cut short prematurely, I was devastated. I thought all my dreams had been shattered but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” he told Standardsport in a recent interview.

“The idea to become a ball juggler was purely original, my own. I sat down to think how best I could make my name while at the same time making football fans happy. Watching drum majorettes and dancers perform during match intervals helped inspire my decision and I made up my mind that I would entertain by way of ball juggling,” he said.

Now a Zifa-certified professional ball juggler, Mbidzo has already graced many big occasions where he displayed his ball artistry.

In 2004 he made his debut appearance during a Warriors encounter with El Salvador. Since then he has been a constant feature in most, if not all Warriors’ international home fixtures, contributing to entertainment of football fans in his own inimitable way.

Performing during Zimbabwe’s historic friendly match against football powerhouse Brazil in 2010, prior to the 2010 World Cup hosted by South Africa, will always rank among his most memorable experiences.

“I was a branding ambassador with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority that time and the Brazilians marvelled at my juggling skills. I was that day given the unforgettable opportunity to shake hands with some of the great footballers from Brazil. Ball juggling had surely ushered me before the world’s great men in football,” he recalls with pride.

Mbidzo shook hands with such Brazilian greats like Kaka, Robinho, Lucio, Dani Alves, that current captain Thiago Silva and the legendary coach Dunga.

To date Mbidzo has worked with ZTA, Econet, OK Zimbabwe, Ngwiros Trading, Mbada Diamonds, Chroma Paints, Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Police Commissioner Fun Fair, SRC and UNI Products, Color Run among many other organisations as a ball juggler and branding ambassador.

But one wonders how much work Mbidzo has to put to perfect his art.

“Zimbabweans back then had a misconception that all extra-ordinary exploit were associated with juju, so my choice of sport was accompanied with a lot of stories when I started. I had to put in a lot of work to improve my ball juggling skills which were not as developed when I was still a player,” said the 44-year-old entertainer.

“I committed a lot of time to physical and mental practice. But as time passed, juggling became part of my system and I found I did not need to train that much any longer,” said the former Kwayedza High School student.

Mbidzo has now set his mind on passing his skills on to youngsters and upcoming footballers to enable them to add ball juggling to their skills arsenal in game situations.

“I see myself as a motivational example in local football. This is a legacy I can leave for others so nowadays I am bringing in youngsters to help me perform because ball juggling is like the word of God which must be shared with others,” Mbidzo said.

Ball juggling, he said, is a football coaching concept which helps in terms of vision, ball artistry, and precision while spicing up the game of football.

He said he is quite dismayed to see that there is a good number of soccer players who cannot do basic ball juggling.

Mbidzo coaches the Elias Madzara-owned Delma Printers Academy based in Glen Norah and has had at least 55 players under his tutelage. He said he hoped to produce future stars with special ball artistry skills that lack in today’s football.

“Footballers must never stop learning. All upcoming and established players need to develop themselves academically. Material wealth is good but you cannot always express yourself to the world sitting in a Limousine, but through your mind, and also, life will ask you questions after a football career,” he said.

Mbidzo is married to Lynnet and the couple is blessed with three girls: Kudzai (16), Lester (13) and Kunashe (4). He is a holder of a diploma in marketing management apart from his class three level soccer coaching badge.

In 2004 he branded perfumes after his name “The Desire Colognes” under Ngwiros Trading — a saloon product manufacturing company owned by Livingstone Mangwiro who was killed in a car accident, after which the initiative of marketing and product promotion hit a snag.

Although he may not have crossed the borders in his area of specialty, Mbidzo has become a popular figure for his ball juggling skills.

When other family members boast of their achievements on the football pitch, Mbidzo can always dare anyone to challenge him at ball juggling.

Source : Zimbabwe Standard