The David That Faced Many ‘Goliath Moments’

Top Stories Zimbabwe

Mugove Chigada

IT is media day for Dynamos in 2015, just weeks after David “Yogi” Mandigora has taken over as coach.

In many ways, this could be a difficult interview for Yogi as he faces a mammoth task given he takes over a Dynamos side that has just won four consecutive titles under Kalisto Pasuwa.

However, for a coach who has been in the trenches for long, he is visibly unfazed.

“How are you gentlemen?” Yogi took the opportunity to break the ice as he moved in to address a handful of us who had come for this first interview of his latest stint with the Glamour Boys.

What stands out though is his humility and ability to balance issues, something that will remain outstanding long after his demise.

His journey ended on June 12, 2021. He was 64. May his soul rest in peace.

On reflection, I see a David that stayed true to his name as he fought many ‘Goliaths’ in his lifetime.

In 2013 I had spoken to him in-depth about his history, his legacy. There were a lot of ‘off the record’ comments, creating what was one of the most exciting interviews I had with a Zimbabwean football legend.

He represented all that was professional, all that was frank, bravery and defined hard work.

The hard work part is perhaps best portrayed by how he played football and had a day job during the 70s and 80s.
It was something common though during that era and Mandigora played for Dynamos senior team from 1977 to 1987.

“It made a big difference. For us during those days, we worked during the day and went for training in the evening after work.

“Most of the guys that we were playing with during those days could actually afford to buy vehicles which was rare for many. I had my first car, I think when I was 21, a Renault R 10, but it was more because of my father who had a very good job.

“I worked at Greatermans during the time that I was at Dynamos,” Mandigora remarked in 2013 in that interview published by H-Metro.

“You could afford to train early in the morning on your own and then train with the rest of the team after work. We trained a lot under floodlights.”

He was never in doubt that his biggest achievement in his football playing career was being crowned Soccer Star of the year in 1980 – the centre of his football legacy as it were.

Yogi also admired the beauty of what surrounded him.

Having played with legendary George Shaya and the great Moses Chunga, his football memories and opinions left an impression difficult to ignore.

“They (Shaya and Chunga) were both great players in their own right with different strengths.

“But my view playing in the same team with them would be that, I played with Shaya when he was a more experienced player and at his very best.

“There was a lot of maturity in his game and we were learning a lot from him as youngsters getting into the team.

“I cannot say the same of Bambo because when I played with him, he was still young and right at the start of his great career. He reached his peak later on and I think he was at his very best when he came back from Belgium. There was a lot of maturity in his game.”

That was Yogi’s opinion of the Dynamos’ two greats. His playing days had many exciting stories. The same cannot be said about his coaching career.

That 2015, when he took over from Pasuwa, he did not last the season. He only lived to fight another day after the famous ‘Vietnam’ had once again sung, “Usaite fun fun nevanhu”.

But that never really did any harm to his achievements in blue as a player and coach.

As a coach he had revealed that Ben Koffi was influential in him taking up the challenge, while working under Sunday Chidzambwa lifted him.

He won the title with Dynamos in 2007 and was close to reaching the CAF Champions league final.

At this stage, he had certainly seen it all!

But to better understand this journey, you must always go back right at the beginning.

When little David was born on 22 May, 1957, in Kadoma, a year after the release of the popular fantasy novel ‘Last Battle’, very few knew the numerous battles he was to face.

“Growing in a police camp meant a lot of discipline for me and most of the times I was playing sports because there were so many recreational facilities in the camp,” he recalled about his early life.

This David, who became king, was the chosen one in a family of ten, three boys and seven girls.

In his 64-year-old lifespan, he seemed to have won the big battles through sacrifice, a lot of inner suffering to make life better for others.

The pain however finally manifested. He lost a leg through amputation, and was prepared to lose another one before the fateful June 12.

And when Zimbabwe waved goodbye to this football legend at Glen Forest, for me there was a lot to cherish, plenty of lessons and much to treasure.

Such was his never say die attitude until death ruled.