Great Zimbabweans – Sport

Despite being a small country, Zimbabwe has produced an incredible number of some of the finest athletes and sports stars in the world. But because they come from Zimbabwe, many of them have not received as much recognition as they should. So here is my list some of the best sports personalities that Zimbabwe and Rhodesia has produced over the years:

Boxing

  • Dereck Chisora – (Born 29 December 1983 in Zimbabwe) is a British professional heavyweight boxer and a former British heavyweight champion

Cricket

  • Andrew FlowerAndrew Flower – Once England National Coach, He played 63 Test matches for Zimbabwe, scoring 4,794 runs at an average of 51.54 and taking 151 catches and 9 stumpings, and 213 one-day internationals, scoring 6,786 runs at an average of 35.34 and taking 141 catches and 32 stumpings. He holds the Zimbabwean records for the most Test career runs, the highest Test batting average, and most ODI career runs. He is the only Zimbabwean in the ICC’s Top 100 All-time Test Batting rankings at Number 24, putting him in the company of Brian Lara (ranked 19), Sachin Tendulkar (20), Steve Waugh (23) and Rahul Dravid (25 in September 2006).
  • Duncan Andrew Gwynne Fletcher OBE – former captain of the Zimbabwean cricket team and former coach of the English cricket team and is largely credited with rejuvenating the fortunes of the then flagging English team, with the team rising from bottom of the Test rankings to second under his tenure as coach.
  • Graeme Ashley Hick MBE – Born in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe), he played 65 Test matches and 120 One Day Internationals for England. He scored more than 40,000 first-class runs and he is one of only three players to have passed 20,000 runs in List A cricket (Graham Gooch and Sachin Tendulkar are the others).
  • Heath Hilton Streak – Born in Bulawayo, is the only Zimbabwean bowler to have taken over 100 Test wickets and one of only 2 Zimbabwean bowlers to have taken over 100 ODI wickets (the other being Grant Flower). There is little doubt that he is the best bowler to have played for Zimbabwe
  • Henry Khaaba Olonga – holds the record for the best bowling in a one-day international by a Zimbabwean, with figures of 6/19 against England at Cape Town in 2000.
  • Murray William Goodwin – Born in Salisbury (Harare), played 19 Tests and 71 One Day Internationals for Zimbabwe. He holds the Sussex record for the highest individual innings with 344* against Somerset in 2009, beating his own record of 335* set in 2003

Diving

  • Evan Stewart – two medals at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada, Gold Medal in the 1m Springboard at the 1994 World Championships in Rome.  He is also the son of former field hockey player Anthea Stewart, who won the gold medal in the women’s competition at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Soviet Union.

Football / Soccer

  • Bruce GrobbelaarBenjani Mwaruwari –  Zimbabwean footballer who used to play for Portsmouth and who currently plays for Manchester City as a striker. He was born on the 13 August 1978 in Zimbabwe and is the current Zimbabwe national team captain.
  • Bruce Grobbelaar – Was actually born in Durban, South Africa but played as goalkeeper for Zimbabwe and also most notably Liverpool F.C. during their dominant period in the 1980s.
  • Peter Ndlovu – born on February 25, 1973 in Bulawayo played for Coventry City, Birmingham City, Sheffield United as well as for Zimbabwe.

Golf

  • Nick PriceAnthony Alastair Johnstone – Born in Bulawayo, he won six times on the European Tour and finished a career best seventh on the European Tour Order of Merit in 1992. His most prestigious win came at the 1992 British PGA Championship.
  • Denis Leslie Watson – Born in Salisbury (Harare) in 1955, finished second in the 1985 U.S. Open, missing out on forcing a playoff by one shot, having incurred a two-stroke penalty earlier in the tournament.
  • Mark William McNulty – Born in Bindura and was one of the leading players on the European Tour from the mid 1980s to the mid 1990s, and cracked the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings for 83 weeks from 1987 to 1992, finished 2nd in the 1990 Open Championship.
  • Nicholas Raymond Leige Price –  Professional golfer from Zimbabwe, 3 times a Major winner and an inductee in the World Golf Hall of Fame. In the mid-1990s, Price reached number one in the Official World Golf Rankings. Born 28 January 1957 in South Africa, but emigrated to Zimbabwe

Hockey

  • Zimbabwean Womens Hockey team – Gold Medal at the Moscow Olympics. Liz Chase provided the pass and Pat McKillop scored the goal to seal a 4-1 victory over Austria as Zimbabwe wrote themselves into the record books as the first winners of the women’s Olympic hockey gold medal.  Team members: Audrey Palmer, Linda Watson, Sue Hugget, Gill Cowley, Sonia Robertson, Sandy Chick, Pat McKillop, Brenda Phillips, Maureen George, Sarah English, Arlene Boxhall, Trish Davies, Chris Prinsloo, Helen Volk, Anthea Stewart, Ann Gran, Liz Chase.

Samson Muripo wins Gold at the recent Karate World ChampionshipsKarate

  • Samson Muripo – 2009 world Karate Champion

Motorsport

  • James Albert Redman MBE – Six-time World Champion motorcycle road racer and six time Isle of Man TT winner. Awarded the MBE for his achievements, born August 11, 1931 in London, England – Emigrated to Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
  • John Maxwell Lineham Love – He participated in 10 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, debuting on December 29, 1962. He achieved 1 podium, and scored a total of 6 championship points. Born in Bulawayo, December 7, 1924 – died April 25, 2005
  • Sam Tingle – Racing driver who participated in 5 Formula One World Championship Grands Prix, his fist on December 28, 1963. Born in Manchester on August 24, 1921, Emigrated to Zimbabwe (Rhodesia), died December 19, 2008

Rugby

  • Adrian Garvey “Turbo Prop” – Played 28 tests for the Springboks during the 1990’s all at Tight-head Prop, scoring 4 tries. He also played for Zimbabwe and won his first cap in the 1991 World Cup. Born 25 June 1968 in Bulawayo, he went to Plumtree School. First Test: 9 Nov 1996 against Argentina at Ferrocarril-Oeste Stadium, Buenos Aires, last Test: 10 Oct 1999 against Spain at Murrayfield, Edinburgh.
  • Andy MacDonald (Andrew WilliamMacDonald) – Played 5 Tests for the Springboks during the 1960’s as a Tight-head Prop and played for Rhodesia. Went to Milton High School in Bulawayo. First Springbok Test: 19 Jun 1965 against Australia at Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney. Last Test: 18 Sep 1965 against New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland
  • Ben-Piet van Zyl – Born in Gweru (Gwelo) on 1st Aug 1935, died 10 Mar 1973 (Age 37), played 1 Test for the Springboks as a right winger scoring 2 tries in the 24-8 win over Ireland on the 13 May 1961 in Newlands, Cape Town
  • Bobby Skinstad (Robert Brian  Skinstad) –  Born in Bulawayo, played for the Springboks, 42 times, scoring 55 points (11 tries). He also captained the Springboks and played as a flanker and Number eight. Born 3 July 1976 in Bulawayo, Rhodesia
  • Brian MujatiBrian Mujati –  South African rugby union player who is still playing and now has over 12 Springbok caps. Born in Bulawayo, went to Peterhouse school in Marondera. His first test was on the  7th  Jun 2008 against Wales at Free State Stadium,in Bloemfontein he plays as a prop.
  • Chris Rogers – Played 4 tests as a hooker for the Springboks in the 1980’s. Born in Masvingo (Fort Victoria) on 10 Oct 1956, went to Milton High School, Bulawayo. First Test: 2 Jun 1984 against England at EPRFU Stadium (Boet Erasmus), Port Elizabeth. Last Test: 27 Oct 1984  against South America at Newlands, Cape Town
  • David Pocock – Currently plays flank for the Australian Wallabies and currently has 6 test caps at the time of writing. I think David was actually born in born in Messina, South Africa on the 23rd April 1988 but emigrated to Zimbabwe where he grew up in Gweru. He made his Australian Debut as a substitute against the Barbarians on the 3rd December 2008.
  • David Smith – Played 4 tests for the Springboks as a center all against the British Lions in 1980. Born on the 9th Nov 1957 in Bulawayo, he went to Hamilton High School in Zimbabwe (Rhodesia)
  • Des van Jaarsveldt – He only played 1 test for the Springboks as a flanker, but was captain and he scored 1 try on the 30th Apr 1960  against Scotland at EPRFU Stadium (Boet Erasmus), Port Elizabeth. When he was made captain, the ‘Transvaler’, a newspaper, announced: “It is an evil day for South African rugby when the country has to seek its rugby captain from beyond its borders in a strange land and may be the reason why he never played again. “He also played for Zimbabwe (Rhodesia). Born on the 31st March 1929, he went to Plumtree School, just outside Bulawayo.
  • Gary TeichmannGary Teichmann –  Zimbabwean born South African rugby union player and was the captain of the South African national team, the Springboks, between 1995 and 1999. He played 42 Tests, scoring  6 tries at number eight (eighthman) . Born 9 January 1967 in Gwelo, Rhodesia/ Zimbabwe. First Test: 2 Sep 1995 against Wales at Ellispark, Johannesburg. Last Test: 10 Jul 1999 against New Zealand at Carisbrook, Dunedin
  • Ian Robertson – Played 5 Tests for the Springboks as centre or fullback in the 1970’s. Date of birth: 28 Apr 1950 in Harare (Salisbury), Zimbabwe, he went to Prince Edward School. First Test: 23 Nov 1974  against France at Stadium de Toulouse, Toulouse. Last Test: 18 Sep 1976, played Full Back against New Zealand at Ellispark, Johannesburg
  • Kennedy Tsimba – First capped for Zimbabwe against Ivory Coast in 1998, has played provincial and Currie Cup rugby in South Africa for the Vodacom Blue Bulls and the Free State where he broke the record for the most points scored in a season (228), a feat which earned him the Currie Cup Player of the Year award in 2002
  • Leon Greeff – Born March 9, 1975, in Kadoma  – Has played 6 tests for Zimbabwe as a lock/loose forward has made a name for himself playing in the Premiership side, Worcester Warriors, and can also add value to the team.
  • Ray Mordt – Born on the 15 Feb 1957  in South Africa, but emigrated to Zimbabwe and played for Rhodesia as well as 18 tests on the wing for the Springboks, scoring 12 tries. First Test: 26 Apr 1980 against South America at Wanderers, Johannesburg. Last Test: 27 Oct 1984 against South America at Newlands, Cape Town He went to Churchill High School in Harare.
  • Ronnie Hill – Born on 20 Dec 1934in South Africa, but emigrated to Zimbabwe and went to Bulawayo Technical High School. Played for Rhodesia and Played 7 tests as a hooker for the Springboks in the 1960’s. First Test: 3 Dec 1960 against Wales at Millenium Stadium (Cardiff Arms Park), Cardiff. Last Test: 24 Aug 1963 against Australia at Ellispark, Johannesburg
  • Ryk van Schoor – Born in South Africa, but emigrated to Zimbabwe (the Rhodesia) and played for Rhodesian and 12 tests for South Africa as a centre scoring 2 tries. First Test 13 Aug 1949 against New Zealand at Ellispark, Johannesburg. Last Test: 26 Sep 1953 against Australia at Crusaders (St George’s Park), Port Elizabeth
  • Takudzwa Ngwenya – Plays for the USA (Eagles). He caused a sensation with the ‘Try of the Tournament’ with his run against South Africa’s Brian Habana in the 2007 Rugby World Cup.  He can run the 100m dash in 10.5, meaning that he is only slightly slower than Tonderai Chavhanga who played for the Springboks. Born July 22, 1985 and went to Vainona High School in Harare and now plays his club rugby for Biarritz in France.
  • Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira – Zimbabwean-born South African rugby union player with over 16 Springbok caps (still playing) and who also plays for the Sharks in the Super 14 competition. Tendai Mtawarira plays as a prop and is fondly known by friends and fans as “The Beast”. Born 1 August 1985 in Harare, Zimbabwe, went to Peterhouse School in Marondera. First Test: 14 Jun 2008 against Wales at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
  • Tonderai Chavhanga – Played 4 Tests for the Springboks on the right wing, scoring 6 tries. Born 24 December 1983 in Masvingo, Zimbabwe he went to Prince Edward School in Harare and can run the 100m in 10.27 seconds, a time he achieved when he was just 16. He is possibly is possibly the fastest rugby player in South African rugby history, according to Jake White, the former springbok coach. First Test: 11 Jun 2005 against Uruguay at Basil Kenyon Stadium, East London. Last Test: 14 Jun 2008 against Wales at Loftus Versfeld, Pretoria.
  • Tonderai Chiutare – (zim 21 2002, Allenton Rugby Club (New Zealand), mid-canterbury province 2003- current (New Zealand)
  • Victor Olonga – former Zimbabwe rugby captain played professional rugby in England for Penzance & Newlyn

Kirsty Coventry Swimming World Record Zimbabwe

Swimming

  • Kirsty Leigh Coventry – Zimbabwean swimmer with 2 Olympic gold medals, 4 Silvers and a Bronze from the Athens and Beijing Olympics, 7 World Championship gold medals, 5 silvers and a bronze, 1 Commonwealth games gold medal,  7 All Africa games gold medals and 3 silvers and is also a multi world record holder. Born September 16, 1983 in Harare, Zimbabwe

Tennis

Liezel Huber and Cara Black win their final doubles match in the Australian Open 2007 in Melbourne

  • Cara Black – Professional Tennis player ranked world number 1 in doubles, born in Salisbury (Harare) Zimbabwe in 1979. Winner of five Grand Slam women’s doubles titles in her career: Wimbledon 2004, 2005, and 2007, Australian Open 2007 and US Open 2008. She has won 3 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles in her career, 2 of them partnering with her brother Wayne: the 2002 French Open & the 2004 Wimbledon Championships (they reached the final at the 2004 French Open and they reached the semifinals at the 2003 French Open & 2003 U.S. Open),and the most recent one with Leander Paes of India : 2008 U.S. Open. She also reached the 2000 U.S. Open doubles final with Elena Likhovtseva.
  • Byron Black –  Became world no. 1 in doubles in February 1994 and also won the 1994 French Open partnering Jonathan Stark. Black was a doubles finalist in three other majors, the 1994 and 2001 Australian Opens and 1996 Wimbledon.
  • Kevin Ullyett – Born in Salisbury (Harare) in 1972,  he has won 24 doubles titles, including the 2001 US Open and the 2005 Australian Open, both with Wayne Black.
  • Wayne Black – Won two men’s doubles Grand Slam titles (2001 U.S. Open and 2005 Australian Open) with Kevin Ullyett and two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles (2002 French Open and 2004 Wimbledon) with sister Cara. As a junior Wayne played league tennis for Highlands Sports Club in Harare.

Help me add to this list

I am sure I have missed out a whole bunch of people that should be on this page, please comment below on anyone that you can think of and I will add them.

played for the national team, the Springboks, being capped once in 2005. He plays for the Stormers in the international Super 14 competition.
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  • Michael Bolton

    You are forgeting Scott Grey
    Born 28 Feb 1978 in Salisbury Rhodesia, he moved to Australia as an 18-year-old and spent two years at the ACT Brumbies academy.

    After a year with the Brisbane Broncos in the NRL, Gray moved to Bath and then to the Border Reivers, Gray joined Doncaster when the Reivers were disbanded. Joined Northampton Saints in 2008. On Scotland’s 2004 tour of Australia. 8 caps, 2 tries

  • Rob Harris

    Debbie Warren – World Judo Champion, her parents were also Olympians for Rhodesia in the Judo Squad in their day.

  • Mark Pretorius

    Chris Pretorius. boxing. Became Sprinbok Heavy Weight Champion in approx 1966. Toured the British Isles beating all their Champions.

  • Ross Dix-Peek

    Kork Ballington, born in Salisbury, Rhodesia,in 1951, 4 time South African grand prix motorcycle World Champion; Ray Amm, also born in Salisbury, famous motorcycle grand prix racer; Noel Dudley Estcourt, born in Rhodesia in 1929, who played 1 test match for England, and of course the cricketers Colin Bland as well as the Pithey brothers, Tony and David.

  • You had 5 Rhodesian’s in the South African cricket side in the late 60’s.Pithey brothers,Goofy Lawrence,Jacky Du Preez and John Triacos,and before them probably the best fielder of all time Colin bland from bulawayo attended Milton high school.

  • Kieran Lalor

    What about Mike Proctor, one of the world’s finest bowlers and a great all-rounder. Don’t know too many details about him, but he captained Gloucestershire which earned the nickname “Proctorshire”, and his feats for the Springboks and Natal are legendary.

  • Bill Mills – Grahamstown, East Cape

    What about Colin Bland, cricketer; Was bowler (? Tufty ?) Mann a Rhodesian? Also Balaskis, spin bowler? Those three played for S. Africa.

    Ray Amm, TT motorbike Isle of Man rider?

    Squash players? Val (Pretorious) Barbour, of Barbours First Street, South African Womens Squash champion

    Batsman Colin Bland perfected the art of fielding in the outfield and seemed to be able, all in one motion, to land the ball straight into the wicket-keeper’s gloves – but, in one test match, in Sydney, he was about three feet off target and elicited a screech from ‘The Hill”, “Throw straight, yer bum”.

  • Ant

    Harry Roberts of Eagle and Peterhouse. Rugby colours for SA and TVL

  • Craig Hodgson

    I’m only speaking in terms of cricketers here and Gavin’s remarks are accurate. These guys plated in the earlier part of the 60’s. A few others that come immediately to mind and think deserve mention are Brian Davison, Dave Houghton, Joe Partridge, Eddo Brandes, Paddy Clift (deceased) and Grant Flower.
    Mike Proctor was actually South African but played for Rhodesia for a good number of years and whilst playing for Rhodesia became only the third batsman in history to score 6 centuries on the trot.

  • jon pons

    Benjani was actually born in Malawi

  • Stephen Barnard

    Did Dave Curtis (Falcon College – 1980’s) not play rugby for Ireland at some stage as a centre?

  • Steve taylor
  • Steve taylor

    I know we also had some great squash players in the 80’s can’t remember names but one from Churchill was world class

  • What about my original squash coach Gail Erskine at Nomads Club?
    She won the South African Squash championships several times, once when 6 months pregnant.
    This was a time when Heather McKay, Geoff Hunt, and Ken Hiscoe regularly visited us.
    I believe she emigrated to Australia with her husband who Hunt stated he could be world champion if he could stop using both hands in squash and so was without a backhand.