When strikers were still strikers, ‘The Bomber’ ruled

18 Apr, 2024 - 00:04 0 Views
When strikers were still strikers, ‘The Bomber’ ruled Maronga Nyangela pictured with some junior players that he is currently grooming in Budiriro, Harare

The ManicaPost


Ray Bande
Senior Reporter

TODAY, Zimbabwe celebrates 44 years of independence, and soccer being the best supported sport in the country, fans will look back at the ups and downs of the game, mainly with nostalgia of the good old days when football geniuses used to roam our stadia.

And 62-year-old Maronga Nyangela is one of them!

Three times – in 1987, 1990 and 1991 – he bagged the Golden Boot award.

Those who were privileged to watch him in action will always remember the big, bullying and bulldozing striker that Maronga “The Bomber” Nyangela, of army side, Black Rhinos was.

It was well deserved for Nyangela that a record four times — from 1990 to 1993 — he made it to the soccer star of the year calendar.

In 1994, Maronga Nyangela ended the season as the joint top goal scorer with the late Highlanders striker, Adam ‘Admaski’ Ndlovu.

But somehow, the former Black Rhinos striker had a few appearances for the Warriors.
His goals were instrumental in helping the army side win two league titles in 1984 and 1987.
Veteran football commentator, Charles Mabika once said Maronga Nyangela was born to score goals.

“Maronga (Nyangela) for me was one of the finest strikers ever to play in the domestic leagues,’’ he said.

“When you talk of scoring goals, from half chances, and heading prowess, Nyangela was head and shoulders above the rest. His speed was incredible.

“I recall Black Rhinos’ CAF Champions League match against Power Dynamos of Zambia at Rufaro in 1985. Rhinos had won in Zambia, beating Power Dynamos 2-0, a result that sent shockwaves across the continent.

“The return leg was dubbed ‘Revenge Mission’ by the Zambians, and Black Rhinos deployed a defensive formation with Nyangela being the lone striker.

“Power Dynamos scored first and as they piled on the pressure, Japhet ‘Shortcat’ Muparutsa intercepted a cross and quickly picked Stanley ‘Sinyo’ Ndunduma who lofted the ball onto Nyangela’s path, and he made no mistake,” said Mabika.In a wide ranging interview with Post Sport, Nyangela gave an insight into his upbringing.

“I did my early education at Nharira Primary School. I started playing competitive football when I was 13 at Number 5 Ground in Mbare’s Joburg lines. I joined Screenton FC in 1981, moved to Black Aces in 1982 where I stayed up to 1983, then moved to Black Rhinos in 1984 until my retirement in 1996.

“I had few caps for the national team, but I was three times top goal scorer. I remember I would score an average of 20 goals per season. I got the nickname ‘The Bomber’ from Charles Mabika and the late Evans Mambara because of the shots which I used to take,” he said.

Currently, Nyangela is laid back at home, but also active in grassroots development in Budiriro.Unfortunately, Nyangela does not have any among his children who would carry on with the legacy.

“My first born Tendai was a very good midfielder, but had to leave football because he is asthmatic,” he said.

On the current standards of the game, Nyangela said: “Standards of the game of football are low at the present moment. I think we should have proper structures from grassroots up to the top.

“It is, not only in Zimbabwe, but the whole of Southern Africa. I think talent is not being groomed properly from grassroots.”

Nyangela hardly forgets how he enjoyed playing alongside the late Stanley ‘Sinyo’ Ndunduma.

“I remember very well how I enjoyed playing alongside the late Stanley ‘Sinyo’ Ndunduma. He used to pass me the ball. We had a very good understanding on the field of play,” he said.

On the match he will never forget, Nyangela said: “It was a drawn match with Gweru United at Ascot Stadium. I can’t remember the year, but I scored a brace. We drew two-all.

“We were losing 1-2 to Gweru United and a few minutes of play were left and I drove a 30-metre drive shot and the goalkeeper did not see it. Supporters were already setting up bonfires because Gweru was nicknamed Pisa-Pisa, but this came as a surprise to the home fans.”

Nyangela thinks the nation needs to be more serious with uplifting the standards of match venues.

“Match venues should be up to standard. I think we should start with community stadiums. These stadiums should be uplifted to meet Premier League standards. Communities should have teams if these small stadiums are up to standard.

“Big stadiums should be uplifted to the required CAF standards, but let us start with the small ones like what Prophet Walter Magaya has done. If we have one in each city like that one, we are good as a nation.

“During our days these small stadiums were functional and it helped in the grooming of footballers so that same structure should be implemented again,” he said.


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