MUFAKOSE-RAISED Custom Kachambwa took up hockey as a 15-year-old at Bernard Mizeki College; little did he know that he had embarked on a journey that was full of all the stops, but would one day see him rise to become a celebrated icon in the country’s hockey circles.
Having established himself as a promising wing player at Bernard Muzeki, it was at the University of Zimbabwe where he did his Law degree where kachambwa was to get the real taste of racial discrimination associated with playing hockey as a young black man.
Kachambwa who was the only black player in the UZ team found himself in a quandary as his talent was constantly swept under the carpet, and often had to play second fiddle to his teammates were of a fairer colour. But instead of destroying Kachambwa, this rejection only made him stronger and he downed his hockey stick and courageously took the fight to the ghetto by forming a hockey team to change perceptions. In 1984, Kachambwa brought together a group of his friends and formed a team that become known as Mufakose Eradicators; a name inspired by what the young lads felt was their calling, a destiny founded on eradicating segregation.
The side was promoted into the first league of Mashonaland hockey in and made an impact in 1987 when they took part in the Africa Club championships in Malawi following their third place finish in the first league. Eradicators immediately became a beacon of hope for not only the populace in the high density suburb of Mufakose, but the all black team became a symbol of freedom for the then marginalised majority. “Basically it was all blacks and back in those days it was a racial confrontation,” Kachambwa said. “We changed the face of hockey altogether. We brought skill and we were a joy to watch.”
Kachambwa’s leadership skills at Eradicators soon found him being selected as a Vice President of the Mashonaland Hockey Board. In 2003-2004, Kachambwa became board member of the Sports Recreation Commission. In 2004, he was co-opted into the Zimbabwe Olympic Committee as a member, a position which he still holds today.
The Hockey maven also served as Chef De Mission for three times in 2003 All Africa games Abuja, 2007 (Algeria), 2011 (Maputo) and one time as deputy Chef De Mission to Admire Masenda in the 1999 All Africa Games in South Africa. Kachambwa might not have had to see out his dreams on the hockey pitch but those dreams are still being shouldered by his son Keith who has become a valuable asset to the Zimbabwe hockey national team.
Currently one of the Judges of the labour court, Kachambwa feels he still has an active role to play in bringing Zimbabwe’s Hockey back to its glory days. “I am looking at new possibilities. A new eradicators, a team that will not have to want or need anything but just concentrate on playing hockey,” he said.