How it started.
Now that Hwange FC, better known by its multitudes of fans as Chipangano, is back with the big
boys, Indonsakusa takes a look at the history of the club. In this two part series, we look at when it
was formed and who the early great players of the team were.
Hwange Football Club then known as Wankie Football Club was formed in 1940. This is the legal
position, which differs with opinion elsewhere where it is stated that Wankie Football Club was
formed in 1893 by a man named Albert Giese together with builders of a railway line between
Bulawayo and Victoria Falls.
In fact, the Albert Giese theory is a mix up of facts involving two separate but related events, which
are firstly, the introduction of the game of football into the mining town of Hwange formally Wankie
and the formation of Wankie Football Club. The formation date of the club is a case of legal
technicalities. People did not sit down to come up with a constitution or such other formal processes
to form the club. Football was already being played in the Colliery as early as the 1920s.
At that time, the Colliery had a group of miners who used to play football to entertain themselves
and other mineworkers. This social group was then registered to play in the competitive
Matabeleland Zonal League in 1940 and in the process; the birth of Wankie Football Club was
announced. The year 1940 became the formation year because it is the year the club acquired its
legal status by registration to a recognised body, which was the Matabeleland Zonal League.
This league was very competitive and played a big role in the growth the club. At that time, the club
represented the Colliery Company in one of the most prestigious competitions in the country—the
Chamber of Mines games.
The first mark of recognition and achievement for the Club came in 1969 when Wankie Football Club
did the unthinkable for a club in Division 1. Wankie defeated Salisbury Callies, the giants playing in
the Rhodesia Super League in the 1969 Castle Cup Final. The football order in the country had been
re-arranged. This feat was no small achievement considering the colonial and social order at that
time, a Salisbury Callies team composed of only white players being defeated by a team with all
black coal miners as players. It was the beginning of Wankie’s Golden Generation, which dominated
the scene for the next six years. The Cup final of 1969 heralded the arrival of an 18-year-old defence
stalwart into the main football stream. Amos Rendo had spent six years travelling with the senior
team as a team mascot from the age of 12.
He later rose to become one of the best central defenders in the country. He was chosen as one of
the Soccer stars three times from 1974 to 1976.This is the same period when the likes of Tyman
Ncube were playing their best football having entered the big scene at the same time as Amos
Towards the beginning of 1970, coach Sipriano Ngoma was replaced Daisy Roller who himself did not
stay long in that position. The year 1970 saw the Club open the gates of its current home, the
Colliery Stadium. It is during this period that a number of touring clubs from Europe, Scotland to be
precise, visited Wankie and played friendly matches. The clubs that visited include Kilmarnock FC,
Clyde FC, John Charles FC and Grasshoppers FC.
It is also the period where a national representative side from the then Tanganyika, present day
Tanzania visited Wankie and played against the Club. This recognition was as a result of many
factors, but the two obvious sporting factors that contributed are the attractive and positive football
the Golden Generation were playing as well as the condition of the Colliery stadium. The stadium
was a state of the art facility during those days.
Jack Meagher took over as coach from Daisy Roller in 1971 and the good work continued. The Club
lifted the Castle Cup for the second time in its history this time humbling Dynamos via a penalty
shootout in 1973. After that feat disaster struck. The Coach Jack Meagher packed his bags for
Chibuku Shumba in Salisbury, present day Harare, which at the time was regarded as greener
pastures. Meagher did not go alone.
He left with the cream of the team in the form of the great goalkeeper Phosani Sibanda, Stephen
Tshuma, Tyman Ncube, John Galasa and Kizito Tembo. Fortunately, that was not enough to stop the
coal machine. The Nyore Nyore Trophy was grabbed in 1974 and the Club reached the finals of the
same trophy in 1975. In the same year, Wankie were second in the Rhodesia Super League where
the Club lost the coveted prize by goal difference despite losing those players to Chibuku Shumba.