Obadiah Sarupinda
BornObediah Sarupinda
(1932-03-02)March 2, 1932
Rupinda, Mutasa District, Mutare
DiedDecember 25, 1993(1993-12-25) (aged 61)
Parirenyatwa Hospital, Harare
Cause of deathStroke
Resting placeMutasa District
EducationOld Umtali Mission
OccupationFootballer, Football Administrator, Football Coach
Years active1953-1967
OrganizationDynamos Football Club
Known forBeing a founding member of Dynamos Football Club and the first native African to be captain of the then Rhodesia Soccer Team
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Irene Shupikai Dangare
ChildrenMargaret, Christine, Chido and Darlington
  • Nyanyiwa Silas Sarupinda (father)
  • Margret Sarupinda-Mashiri (mother)

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.


He was born Obadiah Tauraineni Sarupinda on 2 March 1932 to Nyanyiwa Silas Sarupinda and Margret Sarupinda (Nee Mashiri). He was born in the Rupinda area under Chief Muponda in Mutasa District, Mutare. 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]


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. Obadiah 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]


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 of 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.

Coaching Career

Sarupinda played for Dynamos for more than three seasons before becoming their trainer at the beginning of the 1968 season. He held that post until 1975. After a brief spell in retirement as both a coach and administrator , Sarupinda joined a lower division side CAPS Rovers (now CAPS United Football Club) in 1977 when the Harare side were promoted into the Premier League (now Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League).

After a shaky start, he moulded CAPS into a formidable side and helped them win the league championship in 1979, and led them to win the country's premier knockout competition, the Castle Cup, for a record four consecutive years from 1980 to 1983. He left CAPS in February 1984 after the former pharmaceutical side lost 3-6 to Karls United in the semi-finals of the BAT Rosebowl and immediately went back to his roots at Dynamos where he was appointed the head coach the same month.

Dynamos went on to win a number of trophies in 1986, 1987 and 1988 before in-house squabbles led to the dismissal of Sarupinda, Marimo and the team's entire executive following a coup d'etat by the players at the club in February 1989. Sarupinda was quickly brought back by CAPS who appointed him team manager and he held that position until early 1992 when he stepped down due to ill health.


Obadiah Sarupinda died on Sunday 25 December 1993 at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare due to two strokes he suffered in June 1992 and August 1993. He was laid to rest at his rural home in Mutasa District.