AT 82-years, Takashinga groundsman, Maraini Tichivangana, may have forgotten some of the star players who passed through the cricket club in the past two decades.
But, he is impressed by the transformation the game has undertaken in the country.
Popularly known as “Chirandu”, the Gutu-born groundsman, who also doubles up as caretaker, has worked at the club from November 11, 1998.
Most of the national team players like Tatenda Taibu, Hamilton Masakadza, Prosper Utseya and limited-overs captain, Chamu Chibhabha, all passed through the Highfield facility.
Yesterday, Chibhabha remembered Tichivangana by donating an assortment of goods to the man who joined Takashinga at 60.
“I started my work as a groundsman at Takashinga 22 years ago,’’ he said. “It used to be a Harare City Council facility before it literally turned into a bush after it was been abandoned.
“Then (Steve) Mangongo and (Givemore) Makoni enlisted my services to prepare the place, and develop the cricket pitch.
“We had to work extremely hard to finally have what is today known as Takashinga Cricket Club.
“There were a lot of trees, which we had to uproot, and several rocks which we had to move.
“I was actually appointed the foreman and I did my work according to my superiors’ script.
“I had to pitch a tent under a tree, where I lived, for there was no other structure at this venue which could provide a roof over my head.’’
He saluted Chibhabha for his decision to give back to those who helped him during the initial phase of his career.
I am happy to see most of the players who passed through this club doing well internationally,’’ he said.
“That shows that a venue, alone, without players, is nothing. I would like to thank these players for always remembering me.
“I am humbled by the gesture, which has been extended to me by Chamu (Chibhabha).
“It humbles me a lot to know that these players remember me.’’
Chibhabha, who three months ago also donated to Gogo Gwanzura’s orphanage in Mufakose, said Takashinga’s importance, in his journey as a cricketer, cannot be overemphasised.
“I started playing cricket when I was growing up in Highfield. I joined Takashinga Cricket Club when I was still a kid,’’ he said.
“I remember coming here when “Chirandu,” together with his team, were still sorting out the pitch and there was still a pool here where we used to swim.
“I always come here a couple of times, we always catch up and he is like a father figure to me and others.’’