Who is Mutsawashe Clinton Chiremba and how was journey into tennis?
“I am Mutsawashe Clinton Chiremba. I started Table Tennis as a hobby at St Faiths Secondary School in Rusape in 2007. It was not Table Tennis exactly but we called it Ping Pong and we played it on concrete lay-bys as a way to kill time. It was just boys being boys at a boys high school, nothing serious.”
From one school to another
“In 2015 when l was doing my Diploma in Education at Nyadire Teachers College in Mutoko I was playing cricket and l was one of the best batsmen. I managed to be in the colleges cricket team in second week at the College. There was this fellow student who was way older than us and people used to mock him, nicknaming him “Headmaster”. He is the one who approached me and said, “l have seen your accuracy in batting, so l would like to train you Table Tennis.” The headmaster, real name Norman Chishiri used to play the sport long back at Mbare’s Stordart hall.
From One Sport to Another
We started training. In 2015. However, l was reluctant at first. When we played in a Tachers colleges tournament (ZITCOSA ZONE C games at Nyadire Teachers college) 2015 as a cricket team, we failed to progress to the next stage ZITCOSA national games. That is when Norman spotted me, and invited me to Table Tennis. He was mainly concerned with participation but we surprisingly managed to progress to the next stage, the ZITCOSA national games. Two teams had to progress and we were fortunately second. We trained hard for two weeks. One drawback was lack of equipment since there was no Table Tennis at Nyadire Teachers College.
From One Level to Another
At the ZITCOSA national games we managed to get silver again, this time the matches were at Belvedere Teachers College. We were now progressing to the Zimbabwe Tertiary Institutions games (ZITSU). At the ZITSU games we blended into a team with Masvingo Teachers College and we managed to get silver again, University of Zimbabwe got the gold and MSU bronze. There was going to be the Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi (ZIZAMA games) in Zimbabwe that year. Only six players were needed for the Zim team. l was selected based on my individual performance during the tournament. l had won all my matches.
Thats what made me realize that l was a star. Since it was my first year playing Table Tennis competitively, I had amazing beginner’s luck.
Mutsawashe Clinton Chiremba’s highlights and memorable experiences
Currently l am ranked 10th in the Open men’s category. I won gold for Zimbabwe in the ZIZAMA games. I was able to introduce the sport at Nyadire Teachers College, David Livingstone junior School and Harare Insititute of Technology as a coach. Also, I was recognized by the International Table Tennis Federation Foundation as the person who can develop the sport in the country. I was honored as the best Table Tennis player by Nyadire Teachers College and Zimbabwe Teachers colleges sports association. Being honoured as the Sports person of the year 2017 at Nyadire Teachers College
The Challenges Mutsawashe Clinton Chiremba Faced as He Got into Table Tennis.
The main challenges were getting equipment, finding a place to train and the little recognition as compared to other sports. The major challenge is the stigma which one gets from people already established in Table Tennis. They want to remain as a monopoly in the sport. Frankly speaking, there are people who don’t like it when ghetto youths excel in this sport. Most feel that table tennis is only for the uptown. I faced down my challenges with prayer, persistence and even stubbornness. I had to stay in my lane.
There were drawbacks but there were supportive people I greatly appreciate.
However, l found people who were not familiar with Table Tennis who actually supported me without any stigma. Even to date, you can see that my success story is not known and celebrated even by some Table Tennis stakeholders here. How can they be happy or celebrate the success of a person they didn’t even help, although l had sent emails asking for help. There are many people I greatly appreciate though. The likes of Memory Mutare, The Nyadire Teachers College Principal Mike Nyarungwe., Andrew Madzivachando (Librarian Ezekiel Guti University), Noah Ferenando (ZTTU President and Nelson Madzokere ZTTU technical director Newman Gomendo Z.O.C programes. Edward Tsai (Old Windsor Primary School administrator). The list can be very long. However, my greatest inspiration is my father, mother and sisters, as well as my community (Chitungwiza). Their street praises keep me going.
I would like to say, let’s entertain each other you might entertain angels unexpectedly. Also, talent and hard work will surely get you there. To sports people, let us work towards objective responsibility over subjective responsibility. Sport is an industry and gone are the days when you took sport only as a hobby. And another thing, labelling ourselves as ghetto youths is not proper. We are just youths, that labelling syndrome is limiting us. Yes, we come from the ghetto. But we are just youths like anyone whether in the low density or rural settlements.