By Collin Matiza and Teddie Manyepo
The third pillar of the coalition of black businessmen whose investment into Premiership side Blackpool changed the face of domestic football has collapsed.
Leading Harare businessman Gorden Chademunhu, one of the founder members of the now-defunct local football clubs Blackpool and Dynamos United, is no more.
Chademunhu succumbed to prostate cancer at his home in Hillside, Harare, last week and was buried over the weekend at Greendale Cemetery.
He was 65. Chademunhu rose to prominence in the early 1990s after he first spearheaded the formation of Dynamos United, a splinter team from Harare giants Dynamos after a number of players and supporters had registered their displeasure in the way the Glamour Boys were being run by the administration under the late Morrison Sifelani.
A number of Dynamos players, including Henry “Beefy” Chari and the late Gift “Ghetto” Mpariwa, joined the splinter team which attracted a good number of supporters wherever they played in Division One.
The club changed their name to just United and failed, at the very last hurdle, to break the walls into the top-flight league. But with Chademunhu and his fellow director, Joel Salifu, who is also late, desperate for a Premiership club, they combined forces with another prominent Harare businessman Ronnie Chihota in 1994 to buy the franchise of Black Mambas.
Joe “Pajero” Musenda, Lecture Mpange, Ginger Chinguwa, Ben Muchedzi and Forbes Chitava were the other businessmen who joined the project.
They named Chihota as the club’s chairman with Salifu coming in as vice-chairman while Simeon Jamanda was their chief of protocol. The Blackpool directors then roped in two of Zimbabwean football’s most illustrious sons — the late Shacky “Mr Goals” Tauro and Joel “Jubilee” Shambo, who are both late — as their two coaches.
And with the legendary Tauro and Shambo steering their ship, the trailblazing and colourful Blackpool side caused some ripples in continental football when they went all the way to reach the semi-finals of the then African Cup of Cup Winners tournament in 1995, just a year after rising from the ashes of Mambas. Salifu succumbed to prostrate cancer in July 2012 while one of their ex-directors Mpange died in June 2015 at Parirenyatwa Hospital after suffering from diabetes.
And only last week, Chademunhu became the third founder member of Blackpool to pass on.
“He (Chademunhu) was one of the best soccer administrators this country has ever seen. “It is a very sad loss to Zimbabwean football. At the time of his death, Chademunhu was still an ardent football follower and was very much involved in grassroots soccer development,” he said.
Chedemunhu also had a family in the United States and he used to visit that country frequently but his roots remained in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Chitava, who is currently running a private business, said he is considering coming back to the sport that gave him prominence.
Under Chitava’s administration, Blackpool became a force not only in Zimbabwe but in Africa as they reached the semi-finals of the then African Cup of Cup Winners competition in 1994.
“I am seriously considering moving back to the sport that I love most. We formed Blackpool out of the Black Mambas franchise and the team did wonders. I now want to do the same but I would prefer to start from the grassroots level,” he said.