A dying breed of strikers

HARARE - Thamusanqa Vundla was the typical football number nine but yet underrated.

There was nothing fancy about Vundla’s play and neither was he blessed with the delicate dribbling skills. The only skill he possessed was putting the ball in the back of the net.

He did not score long range shots or spectacular strike but thrived as a fox in the box and scored the bread and butter goals.

Strikers of Vundla’s quality are now a dying breed in the modern game as most coaches are now concerned with stats and strikers with a huge frame, who can hold up the ball.

Vundla burst onto the limelight with the then Wankie FC but it was not until he joined Highlanders that he became a household name in the local Premiership.

His combination with the likes of Stuart Murisa, Chipo Tsodzo, Thabanie Masawi, Sauso Phiri in the punishable Bosso upfront was awesome that no team could stop the Bulawayo giants.

During those days Highlanders were a cut above the rest and between 1999 and 2002, they were crowned Zimbabwe champions as the other clubs played second fiddle.

“I enjoyed my career at Highlanders and forever I will be indebted to them,” Vundla told the Daily News.

“Winning the championship with Highlanders for four years was the highlight of my career. I also won other several trophies with Bosso like the BP Cup, Independence trophy, Zifa Unity cup among others.”

Born 36 years ago, Vundla began his career at Luveve Primary School in Bulawayo where he grew up.

After his secondary education at Fatima High School, Vundla went to join Dunlop FC in Division One before joining Highlanders.

Vundla could not make an immediate impression and was loaned to ZPC Hwange in Division One.

He quickly established himself scoring 45 goals for Hwange before Bosso recalled him the following season.

“It was in 1994 when I joined Highlanders. It was a dream come true for me. I grew up supporting Highlanders and playing for them was something I had long wished for,” h said.

“It was not easy for me during my days. There was a lot of competition then because there was a lot of talent at Bosso then. I am indebted to Highlanders for giving me the platform to showcase my talent.

“The team was always on top of its game because we had a host of talented players that made playing football easier.”

Vundla was also part of the trailblazing Bosso side under Methembe Ndlovu which won the 2006 championship some 20 points ahead of second-placed Motor Action.

Then, Bosso had such players like Sauso Phiri, Tapuwa Kapini, Dazzy Kapenya, Thulani Ncube, Bhekithemba Ndlovu, Gilbert Banda, Richard Choruma among other players.

Vundla’s exploits for Bosso would not go unnoticed and he was eventually called to the national team during the Cosafa Cup.

Vundla reckons Zambian Dick Chama his best coach he has ever worked with while pointing late former Dynamos defender Lenny Gwata as the toughest defender he has ever faced throughout his career.

“Chama remains my best coach I ever worked with. He was a great tactician and motivator and with him, we could beat anyone. He always believed in his players and that made it easier for us to play football,” he said.

“Gwata was one defender who would give me tough times. He was a good reader of the game.”

Vundla is now a qualified coach and is employed as Technosphere trainer in Division One and believes he still has much to offer in the development of domestic football.

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