Maybe it was the name, it did sound strange. Readers of this blog who understand Shona, an indigenous language in Zimbabwe will appreciate why. It is not a name which you can will call out if the mother-in-law asks “Which team do you support, son?” Can you confidently say ” Suri Suri!” without her beating a hasty retreat to the kitchen. She will definitely think her son in law has lost his marbles. But yes, there was once Suri Suri Football club and it was a good team.
If the name looked and sounded suspect , it was the result in 1988 which consigned the club into the records of infamy. The result stank and it led to the club being banned sine die.
Darryn Textiles were going toe to toe with Mhangura Football club in the race for promotion to the Super league. On the last day of the season, the former needed a large swing of goals to pip Mhangura to the sole ticket. What happened on this day has been described as ” Witchcraft ” by one of the protagonists in this drama ,midfield kingpin Gary Mkandawire who is now based in Botswana.
Since Suri Suri Football club was an army outfit, funded by the Airforce of Zimbabwe, most of the players were well trained and fit young men who were expected to give an honest fight every time they played. The 15 -1 drubbing by Darryn Textiles therefore shocked the football fraternity . Darryn Textiles actually scored twenty goals and five were disallowed. So 15-1 it ended and a lot of eyebrows were raised and tongues were wagging. How could a bunch of fit young men trained to fight surrender so abjectly on the pitch. It was simply an unbelievable score line.
Said legend Gary Mkandawire, ” We were leading 1-0 at halftime. I scored the goal. Since i had just returned from military training , i was substituted at half time because i was still recovering from the gruelling training. In the second half it was goal after goal , after goal, i could not believe what was happening, it could only be witchcraft !”
Pushed to explain this result by one of his friends , the legend used the tried and tested military dictum, ” Once a soldier always a soldier, i cannot reveal military secretes!” What a clever way to put the matter to bed by the legend!
However the then Zifa Chairman, no nonsense Nelson “Jumbo Jet ” Chirwa simply banned the club and inevitably ignored the Darryn Textiles claim to being champions who deserved promotion to the Super League.
As fans we will always be curious but we might never really know what really transpired. Did money change hands ? Did Suri Suri lose the match fair and square ? Did Darryn Textiles play out of their skin to secure promotion ? We will never know.
Strange things have happened in the Zimbabwe Football fraternity. The Suri Suri story is one of those which will constantly remind us that there are many mysteries to this beautiful game of football. The result was one such mystery, an open mystery if ever there was one!