By Simbarashe Musaki
A complete package when it comes to football specimen, characterized by deceptive pace, a good goal assist ratio and scorer of top of the drawer goals, appropriately defines former Darryn T (DT) and Dynamos FC midfield keystone, Elliot Matsika.
Matsika, who was nicknamed ‘Musalad’ by veteran football commentator, Charles Mabika due to his lazy-like movement as he glided past his opponents was a midfield genius who could easily adjust to any situation regardless of stage.
“I came up with that nickname after his lazy-like movement with the ball as he glided past his opponents; just like a lazy way masalad talk;” said Mabika.
Matsika whose fame was fanned and spread like fire in the wilderness in the dry season during the famous Dynamos FC ‘Kidznet’ era, started playing professional soccer in PSL at Darryn T in 2000 when the team was reinstated in the Premier League.
Without scratching the surface, this publication successfully managed to convince him to summon his nostalgic rise to stardom.
Matsika who was born on February 8, 1980, started playing soccer at school and was a regular player at Chitungwiza’s Chinembiri Primary and Seke 2 High School where he attended his basic education.
At 12 years, his friends Kenny Mapeza brother to Norman Mapeza and Francis Ganyire, uncle to Valentine Ndaba encouraged him to join DT juniors, then coached by Kudakwashe Masaraure and he heed the advice.
In 1997, Wieslaw Grabowski looked at the talented Matsika with a futuristic eye and facilitated his move PSV Eindhoven Soccer Academy in the Netherlands to sharpen his football skills.
Upon his return, he was loaned to then Division 2 side, Buymore FC, which was promoted to Division 1 in 1998 and he played for the club till the end of 1999.
“I was born on 8 February 1980 and started playing soccer while in grade 4 at Chinembiri Primary and also played while at secondary school at Seke 2 High. When I was 12 years (old), my friends Kenny Mapeza and Francis Ganyire advised me to join DT juniors. In 1997, the club through Grabowski sent me to PSV Eindhoven Academy in the Netherlands, upon my return, I was loaned to Buymore FC,” said Matsika.
In 2000, Matsika was recalled to DT after the team was reinstated into the PSL and the coaches assembled a squad comprising of the team’s Under 17 players such as Shingirai Kawondera, the late Carrington ‘Taribo’ Katumba, Joseph Chimombe, Mudiwa Masusa, Francis Ganyire and the late Paradzai ‘Sisqo’ Nyadembera and a few experienced players namely; Butler Masango, Ralph Kawondera, Prince Matore and Robert Zvomuya for a psychological boost to the teenage players.
The team went on a disappointing losing spree, only to resurrect in the second half of the season, beating Zimbabwe’s soccer giants Dynamos and Highlanders FC, with in form Matsika scoring his famous, gently curling free kicks.
His impressive performance serenaded a number of top-flight clubs, but it was Masvingo United that won the race for the silky midfielder’s signature on a season-long contract, in 2001, joining the likes of Lloyd Hlahla, Godfrey ‘mai Mahofa’ Dondo and FC Platinum goalkeepers coach, Tembo Chuma.
Matsika, who was getting better with age like wine, was convinced by former Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa, who was a player then, to join the famous Dynamos youthful team popularly known as Kidznet under the tutelage of Moses ‘Bambo’ Chunga in 2002, playing alongside Esau ‘Taliban’ Amisi, Eddie Mashiri, and Samson Choruwa, among others.
He said “In 2000, DT was reinstated into PSL and I joined the newly assembled squad comprising mostly of Under 17 players and few experienced players. We lost most of our opening games and gained form in the second half, beating Dynamos and Highlanders FC and I became a free-kick specialist. In 2001, I joined Masvingo Utd before I was convinced by Calisto Pasuwa to try my luck at Dynamos, and I was part of the Kidznet team assembled in 2002.”
In 2004, he had a short stint at then Poland’s topflight club Swit Lukullus, before joining former Mvela League outfit, Amazulu FC, that same year, and was composed playing in the same team with fellow Zimbabwean Rabson ‘Sarafina’ Muchichwa.
After a prolific spell at Amazulu, in 2005, the on-fire Matsika rejoined Dynamos, scoring 7 spectacular goals in 13 matches. However, the following season saw Matsika turning out for Shooting Stars from 2006-2011, together with former Dynamos players Clive Mwale, Leo Kurazvione and Esau Amisi.
In 2012, till mid-season he played for then Misheck Chidzambwa coached side, Blue Rangers FC, before crossing the border to join Ferroviaro da Beira in mid-2012 and the team came second on Mozambican log.
He came back home in 2013 and was signed by Division 1 side Ruwa FC and moved to another Divison side, the then Cuthbert Chitima owned and Walter Magaya sponsored Yadah Gunners FC in 2014-2015.
“In 2004, I had a short stint at Swit lukullus of Poland before moving to then S.A Mwela League club, Amazulu. I returned to Dynamos on fire in 2005 and scored 7 spectacular goals in 13 games. In search of greener pastures, I joined Shooting Stars from 2006-2011 before joining then PSL club Blue Rangers FC and Mozambican top-flight club Ferroviaro da Beira in 2012. Upon my return, I joined Division One clubs Ruwa Utd FC in 2013 and Yadah Gunners FC between 2014 and 2015,” added Matsika
The CAF “C” coaching licence holder, Matsika, quit playing football in 2016 from the frustration of playing in Division 2, which has second-class grounds and unimpressive spectators.
Equipped with his Level 1 and 2 coaching certificates attained in 2010 whilst playing at Shooting Stars, he was appointed Yadah FC assistant coach in 2016 and when the team got premiership promotion he was assigned to become the club’s Division 2 head coach.
He is currently the Division 1 side, Golden Eagles assistant coach, after joining the club in 2019.
“I’m currently Golden Eagles assistant coach. I quit playing soccer in 2016, the truth is, I was worried to play in lower divisions, playing at Zimbabwe grounds, the pitch and the ground, etcetera,” said Matsika.
Subscribing to the adage ‘a football hero is known only on the playing field,’ the former Warriors midfielder, Matsika achieved a lot during his ‘heydays’ and his cabinet is one of the most decorated with two Under 20 COSAFA Cup bronze medals won in 1999 and 2000, 2002 OK and Dairibord Cup gold medals and 2003 ZIFA Unity Cup gold medal, all won at Dynamos, 2008 Banc ABC silver medal with Shooting Stars FC and 2013 Silivia Dube silver medal with Ruwa United FC.
By Simbarashe Musaki