Stars of the Past with BENEDICT TEMBO
IT IS an open secret that unpredictable shift work rosters in the mining industry have physical and psychological effects on workers and their families, but for Friday Singoyi, a former football player, the schedules have also deprived him of free time to watch the game he was once so passionate about.
Watching a weekend football game again is something which Singoyi looks forward to so that he could have the opportunity to share in the lunch break discussions about who made the most passes or scored a spectacular goal.
Singoyi last watched his former team Roan United Football Club last year and only three games.
It is not by design that Singoyi, the one-time engine room for â€˜Stylishâ€™ Roan does not wish to render moral support to the club so dear to him.
Singoyi, a pump operator with the Luanshya Copper Mines, says his work is so demanding that he has no time to reunite with Kafubu Stadium where soccer dreams were fulfilled.
â€œWe work three shifts, I have no time,â€ Singoyi said in an interview in Luanshyaâ€™s Mpatamatu township recently.
Truth be told, Singoyi is not amazed by the soccer standards and could be one of the reasons he stays away from Kafubu Stadium, besides his demanding work regime.
A natural midfielder who anchored, played behind the two front men as well as playing as an inside right striker, Singoyi started his career with Mover Hill Footb`all Club, an amateur club in section 27 of Mpatamatu mine township.
He played for the community outfit from 1979 up to 1982 when Buseko United, a Zambia Consolidated Copper Mine, Roan Division club enlisted him.
Due to his midfield expertise, Singoyi spent two seasons with Buseko as Roan, demoted from Division One and in need of depth to rebuild a side to get back to top flight soccer, secured his services.
Despite coming from the lower Division, Singoyi competed favourably for a starting line-up and contributed to returning Roan side back to the elite league as well as retaining the â€˜Stylishâ€™ flair.
During his stint with Roan which lasted from 1985 to 1991, Singoyi accounted for his presence very well.
At the time of joining the Kafubu Stadium, Roan had the likes of Lackson â€œBubuâ€ Bwalya, Morton Mwenda, Rasford Mwelwa, Joseph Kanyungulu goalkeeper, Reuben Munyenyembe, Joseph Bwalya, Jack Sele, Jack Mwamba, Reevan Kalaba,
In 1988, the year Roan returned to Division One, Singoyi played in the then prestigious Charity Shield final against Mufulira Wanderers. Roan lost 0-3.
In the same year, Roan played in the semi-finals of the Independence Cup against Power Dynamos which the Kafubu Stadium won 2-1, with Singoyi scoring the winner after Wisdom Chansa had cancelled Wade Mumbaâ€™s opening goal.
During his stint with Roan, he played under Ginger Pensulo, Dickson Makwaza and Bernard â€˜Bomberâ€™ Chanda as coaches.
After leaving Roan in 1991 where he was replaced by Felix Nsama who joined from Ndola United, Singoyi genuinely thought he still had something to offer.
In believing so, he joined Division One (North) Mpelembe Drilling who were campaigning from Roan Soccer Field and played there for one season.
He moved on, this time aligning himself with Division Two Zambia Metal Fabricators where he spent yet another season and wound up his career at Mpatamatu Stadium-based Panadol, a Division Two outfit where he eventually became a coach alongside former Roan goalkeeper Gibson Ngwila.
During the short stint they had with the team, they discovered and groomed players such as Losper Muma who later played for Profund Warriors (Napsa Stars) and Roan as well as Kelvin Mumba who also played for Roan but is now a miner.
Singoyi, who was born on August 18, 1962, went to Nkulumashi Primary School and Mpatamatu Secondary School.
The first in a family of nine, was born in section eight clinic to Vainess Namomba, Singoyiâ€™s father Solonika Singoyi, was a rigger in the mines.
The man, who is clocking 30 years in the mines this year, hails from a family of nine – three boys and six girls.
On his part, Singoyi has six children â€“ two boys and four girls with his wife, Gift Nampasa, who owns a shop in Mpatamatu market.
Looking back, Singoyi sees a huge disparity in soccer standards between his era and the current generation.
â€œThere is a big difference, we cannot compare the football we were playing,â€ he says.
He, however, does not blame the current crop of players because it is not their making.
â€œWe were sponsored by Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM), we had a lot of nurseries. This is where the clubs were picking players. Lack of players is contributing to poor standards,â€ he said, qualifying his statement by saying that they were playing with the likes of Kalusha Bwalya and Charles Musonda.
â€œToday, we are having problems where to get players, that time, we had A and B teams, there was competition,â€ Singoyi said.
Email – bt@daily-mail. co.zm/0974950753Â
Stars of the Past with BENEDICT TEMBO