The day Chigova slept at Mbare Musika rank

GEORGE Chigova is just 15.

He is the youngest in this How Mine reserve team.

He has all the qualities that makes a good goalkeeper.

The athleticism, the frame, the agility and the intelligence.

But that is barely noticeable.

It’s understandable. He stays in the How Mine compound where his father is a driver at the mine. On this day, as is usually the case, his reserve side will curtain raise for How Mine’s first division league match against Zimasco Tigers from Shurugwi.

The latter is under the tutelage of national Under-17 coach Rodwell Dhlakama.

The curtain raisers are phenomenal.

Chigova is at his best, thwarting several raids from the Bulawayo Select opposition.

He catches Dhlakama’s eye.

“So I noticed his height first and asked for his age and they confirmed that he was the youngest in the team.

“I got interested and enquired about his family that was when I learnt that his father was a driver at the mine and the mother was in the compound where they stayed,” said Dhlakama.

“Unfortunately the father is now late and so is the mother. After my game I went straight to the mother and I told her I saw something in the boy and would want to use him as a national team Under 17 player.

“She told me to phone his brother who was then staying in United States of America and also to wait for the father who had gone through his routine work schedule ferrying workers from work to the central business district. “Unfortunately I couldn’t wait for him since I did not have own transport so I went without seeing him”.

Dhlakama had to arrange for another day to travel back to Bulawayo to meet Chigova’s family. The meeting was positive and Chigova’s family released him to be in the hands of Dhlakama.

But the worst was on its way.

“So I wanted to negotiate with either Aces Youth Soccer Academy or Agatha Sheneti Academy. Those were the two prominent academies back then.

“When we got to Harare, we arrived late and we did not have accommodation so we slept at Mbare rank waiting room . . . ”

The following day, Dhlakama, after making some frantic efforts to contact the two nurseries, took Chigova to Julius Chifokoyo who was the CAPS FC manager.

He shared with him the struggles he had faced with young Chigova.

Chifokoyo then arranged for the two to be temporarily accommodated where CAPS FC players were camping.

Upon learning of the two’s predicament, two of the team’s senior players More Moyo and Francis Chandida contributed US$32 for them to use for both food and transport.

A day later Nigel Munyati of AYSA agreed to give Chigova a single week’s trial.

The boy impressed and was taken aboard.

“I was discovered by coach Rodwell Dhlakama who took me from How Mine Juniors to Aces Youth Academy,” said Chigova two years ago.

“He really helped me and I owe him my success story”.

Chigova would break the ceiling, first finding his way into the Gunners set-up and eventually moving to Dynamos before crossing to South Africa where he had stints with SuperSport United and Polokwane City. He also became a regular for the Warriors having cut his teeth with the Under-17 side under Dhlakama.
Unfortunately his journey ended in tragic fashion last week, dying in his sleep in South Africa due to suspected heart complications. His body was repatriated back home this week before getting a final lap at Rufaro Stadium where he particularly impressed in Dynamos’ colours. It was also taken through Garwe Stadium in Chivhu where he horned his skills as a young boy before his burial in this Mashonaland East town yesterday.

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