By Siya Ncube
Gokwe- Blackstars FC head coach, Lyton Ncube has expressed desire to transform the ambitious Gokwe North based rural football outfit from a social club to a competitive team in the ZIFA division two league in 2022.
Formed in 1991, Blackstars FC are arguably the most followed team in Gokwe, Kabuyuni’s Ward 4.
The team was founded by a group of players including Chirova Kasengezi, Wage Dube, Picture Dube, Urban Mate, David Mavulele, Jealous Simalungu.
Blackstars was formed to provide entertainment to the people in the community as well as to keep the youngsters in the area health and fit.
Judas Mavulele (late) was their founding and longest serving coach.
Currently, the team are under the tutelage of Lyton Ncube and Forget Bobvu.
The former is senior lecturer at the Midlands State University, while the latter is a teacher at Zhomba High school.
The duo have vowed to take Blackstars to the next level.
“ I supported Blackstars from 1993 when I was still a young boy.
“I have always believed in this team, hence I believe this is the time to take the club to the next level.
“We discussed with my comrade in arms, Forget Bobvu as well as the players about taking the club to organised football.
“The time is ripe for Blackstars to join organised football and make history there”, said Lyton Ncube.
The position to join division two football was supported by some of the founding players.
“Personally, I would be happy to see Blackstars playing competitive football. The team has come a long way,” said Chirova Kasengezi.
Black stars FC is one of the longest surviving teams in the area. Teams formed in the 1990s such as Stubborn Mabhanana, Swallows, Yambiro, Manchester, among others have faltered.
Though Blackstars achievements have not been documented, those who have been in the Gokwe Kabuyuni community since the club’s inception, aver that it is the most successful team in the area.
“Blackstars is the flagship of football activities in our area. The team has won several tournaments organised in the area. It has also travelled to neighbouring areas such as Gokwe centre, Siabuwa(Binga), and played competitive football”, said Simeon Chigoronga a prominent fan of the club.
“This team is important in the lives of the youths as well as the grown ups. This is because the youth spend more time on soccer activities, thus avoiding criminal activities”, added Chigoronga.
However, despite its important role, Blackstars is haunted by financial challenges.
“We do not have adequate training facilities.
“For instance, at times we are forced to work with one ball, which makes it difficult for our coaches when working on drills which require more balls.
“We also don’t have adequate playing kits as well football boots. Imagine playing bare footed, this make players vulnerable to injuries”, said Muzondo, one of the senior clubs at the team.
Blackstars is known for bringing unity in the area as well as championing development programmes in the area. Football is more than a game but a tool to mobilise communities, consensus building and social cohesion especially for areas that have remained marginalised in may aspects like Gokwe.
“We depend so much on sports for the maintenance of peace and social cohesion in our area. As the youth, we are jobless and sports take much of our time and distract us from the temptation to do bad thigs like drug abuse and prostitution. It is our hope that we transform our team to another”, said a youth from Jonathan Tarabu.
In 2020, the team embarked on a programme filling potholes in the Zhomba/Chitekete road. They also participate at funerals assisting with fetching water and cutting firewood.