Obadiah Sarupinda was a Zimbabwean soccer player and founding member of Dynamos Football Club. Sarupinda was the first African to captain the Rhodesian soccer team.

Background

He was born Obadiah Tauraineni Sarupinda to Nyanyiwa Silas Sarupinda and Margret Sarupinda (Nee Mashiri). He was born in the Rupinda area under Chief Muponda. His father worked at Stapleford Estate (KwaMunere), near present day Penhalonga, as a Forestry Supervisor. In those early years Obadiah and his siblings were raised by their mother and grandmother Mbuya Musone. His father was installed as Ishe (Sub-Chief) Sarupinda in 1938. In September 1958, he married Elizabeth Irene Shupikai Dangare. They had 3 daughters and a son.[1]

Education

He enrolled at Rupinda School for his first grade. It was at Rupinda school that he first kicked a proper ball. In 1947, he went to Old Mutare Mission to further his academic education. His brother Josphat joined him at Old Mutare in 1948. Obidiah and Josphat both played soccer and became part of the all-conquering Old Mutare team from 1948 to 1950. He played as a centre back while Josphat played as wing-half (midfielder). [2]

Career

In January 1951, Obadiah returned to his home area and was engaged as a teacher at Rupinda Primary School. In 1952, his brother Josphat who had also taken up a teaching position at Kosten Primary School in Rupinda area died as a result of suspected food poisoning. In December 1952, Sarupinda resigned from his teaching position and went to Harare, then Salisbury. On 7 January 1953, Sarupinda set foot in Harare for the first time after a journey by train from Mutare. He joined the Rhodesia Herald as a clerk and he also doubled as a player for the company’s football team that was playing in the second division. He helped the team gain promotion to Division 1 at the end of that season. This marked the beginning his career as a professional footballer. He left the Herald football team at the end of 1954 and joined the Salisbury based Old Mutare F.C. for which he turned up in 1955 and 1956. It was during that period that he attracted the attention of the Yellow Peril selectors. It was a select side of the best players from Salisbury. The select sides from all cities from Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) used to play in a knock out tournament, the Castle Cup. Only the best were selected to play in the select sides.

In the Yellow Peril team, he played with the one armed Freddy Gotora. He also played with Barnes Chiwareware, Josiah Akende, John Jappi, Danny Thomas Yaledi and Samson Bhinya among others. With Yellow Peril, he added to his winners’ medals, when the select side beat a Zambian Select side 3-2 in the 1956 finals. During the same year, Yellow Peril toured South Africa and won all their matches.

In 1958, he formed his own team, the Eastern Brothers, in which he was trainer and captain. The team was competitive against some of the teams in the Salisbury League that included Mutambara, Mhondoro, Red Lion, Mashonaland, Civil Service, Harari, BSAP and Old Mutare.[3]Sarupinda was the first African to captain the Rhodesian soccer team in 1965 when the national team played against the touring Middlesex Wanderers, an English team.He also scored a goal in that game. He was also Dynamos secretary general.

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