ONE has played for Mkhokheli Dube’s Tshabalala-based Zebra Revolution development team and another tasted Zifa Southern Region Division One football action with the now defunct Quelaton FC.
Before the recent amnesty proclaimed by President Mnangagwa, to give over 3 000 prisoners a perfect Independence Day, the duo’s football prowess made them both “kings of the cons” at Khami Medium Prison where they were a prominent part of the correctional centre’s weekend four-team league games.
Sadly, the 20-year-old development player at Dube’s Zebra Revolution, David Hombarume, who could have eventually become a professional player was 15 months ago arrested, convicted and sent to the pen for housebreaking in Bulawayo’s the high-density suburb of Sizinda.
The youngster’s fellow ”king” in the pen was a former Quelaton player, Romeo Chiwetu (33) who was in 2018 arrested, convicted and incarcerated for robbery in Bulawayo’s Kingsdale suburb.
Last Friday Khami Prison was a hive of activity: some cons were going home as beneficiaries of the presidential amnesty while some wished they were going home.
And on this happy Friday for quite a few convicts, B-Metro managed to speak to the two footie stars who had become the star attraction of the prison’s weekend money games — cigarette and soap games to be precise.
Interestingly, while their peers fought to be selected to grace famed stadia across the country, this pair had become prominent at the correctional centre’s weekend tournaments where four teams, Orlando Pirates, Barcelona, Highlanders and Real Madrid face off playing for cigarettes and soap and other such key commodities behind the walls and bars of prison life.
“I was only left with one month on my sentence. I was arrested, convicted and sentenced to 16 months in prison after I committed an unlawful entry and theft offence in my hood in Sizinda.
“As I go back to society, I will seek to change and become a better person. I will also further pursue my dream of becoming a professional footballer. Before I was convicted, I used to turn out for Zebra Revolution’s Under-20 side.
During my time here (Khami Prison), I played for Orlando Pirates at our weekend games that featured four teams. It was a nice experience that brought us together as prisoners,” said the baby-faced Hombarume, a gifted footie whom some prison wardens said they will miss seeing his sublime football skills deep in the bowels of the correctional centre.
Besides being granted a rare chance to continuously sharpen his football skills while he was serving his sentence, Hombarume reckoned he now also had sophisticated agriculture skills to take home.
Romeo, who kept asking this reporter whether the likes of former Quelaton and CAPS United goalkeeper Winston Chiwetu, Chicken Inn’s Guide Goddard and Highlanders duo of Ariel Sibanda and Peter Muduhwa among others were still involved in local football, said while he would miss Khami’s memorable weekend games, rubbing shoulders with other prisoners who turned out for Real Madrid, Highlanders and Orlando Pirates while inside the cells, would greatly make him a better person.
“Through these money games, as prisoners we got to know each other very well. It was another way that kept us occupied and I must say Khami was becoming home to some of us. It was good to see people compete in true football spirit.
However, I am grateful to President Mnangagwa and hopefully I will be able to pick myself up and always seek to do good,” he said with a smile, vowing that he would by all means seek to stay out of trouble.