Fanwell Ariberto proclaimed , ” Everything happens by Divine appointment, i feel blessed because God gave me a gift which took me to many countries!” It is true to say the former State House Tornadoes, Darryn Textiles, Darryn T, QwaQwa Stars (South Africa) and Extension Gunners (Botswana) shot stopper wears his faith on his sleeve. He does not shy away from proclaiming his Christian beliefs at any given opportunity.
“In 1988 , together with Jonah Tasanangurwa we were sent on attachment with Coventry City by the then President of Zimbabwe, Canaan Banana who owned State House Tornadoes. This was the will of God. I never dreamed of travelling to England but i found myself on a plane for the first time , It was only 23” he said , his voice full of nostalgia.
How was his experience during those early years when not too many Zimbabweans were travelling outside Zimbabwe? A few did especially musicians . I remember well the likes of John Chibadura and his Tembo Brothers, Marshall Munhumumwe with the Four Brothers and also the Bhundu Boys were early pioneers of the northward bound journey. Many carried mealie meal with them. Those were the days when travelling to the UK really meant something. But not many footballers had that opportunity.
Back to our legend, how did he find England way back in 1988? ” The weather as usual was a challenge especially when training outside. I was used to the sunny weather but now i had to train in the wet weather , it was not easy , ” he said. ” But can you imagine my brother, during this month long attachment, i was trained by Gordon Banks the 1966 World Cup winner with England, i also faced the likes of Cyrille Regis and David Speedie at training. These were top strikers but if you saved their shots , they would give you a pat on the back. They were very generous with their praise but also encouraged me to work hard !”
Zimbabweans will be familiar with the football links that were there between Coventry City and Zimbabwe during the 1980’s. This link was put in place by the now late President Canaan Banana. He was a football man from the heart despite all the other shenanigans which later emerged in later years. It was this link which later benefitted Peter Ndlovu who later joined Coventry City and took the English league by storm earning himself rave reviews and dare me say comparisons with George Best. Hyperbole ? Well maybe but on his day Peter was unstoppable and one can understand that seemingly far fetched comparison.
Ariberto is proud to have opened that path, “In football you need pioneers and together with Jonah Tasanangurwa we opened the way for Peter so to speak, Coventry knew there was talent in Zimbabwe because of what they had seen in us “, said Fanny proudly.
Ariberto who lives and works in Manchester is now a born again Christian and is eager to spread the good news to others. ” I feel blessed and i want to share those blessings with others. The knowledge of God is the beginning of wisdom and i urge my fellow brothers in sport to seek wisdom ” added the legend. He has now dedicated his life to serving the Lord. Many former legends of Zimbabwe football are now born again Christians. The likes of Black Rhinos goalkeeper Japhet Mparutsa, speedy former Blackpool rightback Simba Nyakudziwanza, Frank Nyamukuta formerly of Caps United , former Gweru United slippery winger Collin Semwayo , former Zimbabwe Saints defender Matambanashe Sibanda and captain Jimmy Phiri now proclaim their faith. Fanuel Ariberto adds to this long list.
It was good to catch up with Fanuel Ariberto. Any plans of going back home to uplift the game i asked .
” My brother , home is best but at the moment my family is well settled here in the UK. However , when the time comes to go back, i will answer the call, like i said earlier , everything is by Divine appointment, God ‘s time is the best time ” he concluded the interview.
I agree indeed ” The footsteps of a righteous man are ordered by God.”
I hope one day Fanny will serve Zimbabwe football again in one capacity or another.