Sadomba in Exclusive Company

FORMER Zimbabwe international, Edward Sadomba, is the fourth all-time highest scorer in the CAF inter-club tournaments, underlying his status as one of the finest forwards to grace the continent’s football fields.

The 37-year-old former Dynamos skipper retired at the end of last year, bringing the curtain down on a career which saw him also play in South Africa, Mozambique, Libya, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates.

He has 33 goals, in the CAF inter-club competitions, and only three other forwards — Angola’s Flavio (35 goals), Egyptian legend, Mahmoud Al-Khatib (37 goals) and Congolese marksman, Tresor Mputu (55 goals) — have scored more goals than Sadomba.

The 65-year-old Al-Khatib, who is the current president of record African champions Al Ahly, is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers to grace the game on the continent.

Affectionately known by his nickname, Bibo, Al-Khatib cast his spell on the African game during his prime and helped Al Ahly to win the Cup of Club Champions, which later became the Champions League, in 1982 and 1987.

The Cairo giants also won three Cup Winners’ Cup, in 1984, 1985 and 1986, before the tournament evolved to become the CAF Confederation Cup.

His Al Ahly side thrashed Dynamos 6-2, on aggregate, in the second round of the Cup of Club Champions in 1983 on their way to the final where the Cairo giants lost 0-1 to Asante Kotoko of Ghana.

A 10-time winner of the Egyptian championship, with Al Ahly, Bibo was crowned the African Footballer of the Year in 1983 and one of the finest African footballers of all-time by the International Federation of Football History.

It’s a measure of the impact that Sadomba made, on the continent, that he is now mentioned in such exclusive company, which includes Bibo, when the stars of the game are talked about.

The former DeMbare skipper is also the sixth joint all-time leading goal-scorer, in the CAF Champions League, with 18 goals from 43 games, after featuring in the tournament for six seasons.

Another Egyptian football superstar, Mohamed Aboutrika, sits top of the table after scoring 31 goals, in 88 games, over nine seasons, for Al Ahly.

While Mohamed Salah has taken the levels of Egyptian footballers to another level, with his great performances for Liverpool and his country in the past few years, Aboutrika was widely considered the finest player from his country before Salah’s emergence.

“He is possibly the greatest footballer in the history of the world with a bachelor’s diploma in philosophy hanging on the wall of his sitting room,” legendary Italian sports journalist, Gabriele Marcotti, wrote about Aboutrika.

“He is arguably the best footballer on Earth not playing his trade in Europe or South America and does staying in Egypt make him gutless and unambitious because he won’t measure himself against the world’s best on a regular basis?

“Or, in fact, should he be admired for remaining loyal to his homeland, simply being happy with what he has achieved and not feeling the need to chase the glamour and millions of the Premier League or La Liga?”

Congolese international forward Mputu is in second place, on the Champions League all-time goal-scorers table, with 28 goals in 60 games spread over 12 seasons.

Another Egyptian, Emad Metab, is in third place with 24 goals, from 74 games, in 11 seasons for AL Ahly while Tanzanian forward, Mbwana Samatta, is in fifth place with 20 goals, in 40 games, over five seasons.

Sadomba shares sixth place with Congolose international forward, Dioko Kaluyituka, with the Zimbabwean having 18 goals, in 43 games, spread over six seasons.

Kaluyituka has the same number of goals, in 33 games, over five seasons in which he starred for TP Mazembe.

In eighth place is another Al Ahly legend, Mohamed Barakat, who has 17 goals, in 68 games, over nine seasons while Walid Soliman has 16 goals, in 73 games, in the same number of seasons.

Cameroonian international forward, Yannick N’Djeng, who starred for Tunisian giants Esperance, occupies 10th spot with 15 goals, in 39 games over five seasons.

Remarkably, Sadomba is the only member of that top 10, in the Champions League all-time highest scorers, who did not win the title.

Aboutrika won five Champions League titles, Mputu won two Champions League titles, Meteb won five Champions League titles, Favio won three Champions League titles, Samatta won one Champions League title.

Kaluyituka won two Champions League titles while Barakat won five Champions League titles.

Soliman has two Champions League titles with Al Ahly and N’Djeng won a Champions League title with Esperance.

Nine years ago, Sadomba became the first Zimbabwean player to be named by CAF among the best 10 players plying their trade on the continent.

He was then playing for Sudanese giants Al Hilal.

Sadomba was named on the shortlist for the 10 players, who the CAF experts believed had done enough, to be considered for the 2011 CAF Player of the Year (Based in Africa) award.

He caught the attention of the experts after scoring seven goals, in 12 Champions League matches, for Al Hilal that year.

Sadomba said this was another demonstration that God was working wonders in his career which, at one stage during his stint in South Africa, appeared to be over after he suffered a horrific injury.

“I just want to thank God for this blessing, I always put everything before God and it’s because of God’s wish that you get to be recognised like this,” told The Herald back then.

“I also want to thank my family, my teammates and the supporters for all the support they gave me during the year.

“It is a great honour to be among Africa top 10 and flying your country’s flag high up there.”

The former Zimbabwe international is now working to open avenues for local players to play in foreign leagues, especially in Eastern Africa, where he has a lot of contacts and is well respected.

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