Interview by Zimlegends
Article by Elizabeth D.T. Taderera
Constantine Dinha grew up in Chiredzi’s Hippo Valley and went to Hippo Valley Estates Primary School where he started playing rugby in 1986. He also played cricket and swam. He then went to high school at Prince Edward School where he left swimming and cricket and concentrated on rugby and basketball. He went to Speciss College after he left Prince Edwards in 1996. At this time he was being coached by Ian Robertson, the late Springbok rugby player. Mr. Dinha told Zimlegends that this was the pinnacle of his rugby career.
In 1997 he was selected to represent the Zimbabwe National Basketball Team in the Zone Six Africa cup qualifiers at the Harare City Sports Centre. He also played for the Old Hararians U21 rugby team. In 1998 he was named Old Hararian U21 Player of the Year and then graduated into the first team. He told Zimlegends that he had to balance both sports, sometimes having two matches on a Saturday, one for rugby and the other for basketball. He used to play basketball for Varsity Leopards at the University of Zimbabwe.
In 2001 he decided to focus on rugby, “I was burning out” he said. In 2002 Old Hararians won the National Rugby Championship and he was selected for his first national team cap, against Namibia at Hartsfield in Bulawayo. He was also named Lion Lager Player of the year. In 2003 they failed to qualify for the World Cup after losing in Namibia.
Dinha went to Germany for a trial period of three months after a friend told him that a club in Germany was looking for players. He ended up staying in Germany for about 10 years. One of the more memorable games he played in was a curtain raiser for the Springboks in Durban.
Dinha would come home twice a year on his offseason breaks and play for the National Team. He played with the Zimbabwean team while it was in Africa Group 1C. They were eventually promoted to 1A over a period of 6 years, after winning qualifying tournaments, an achievement that Dinha is very proud of. He told Zimlegends that Brandon Dawson has been a pivotal part of Zimbabwean rugby and they would never have achieved anything if he wasn’t a part of it, due to his passion for the sport and his country. Mr. Dinha said he tried for a comeback in 2016 when he played in the Kenya and Hong Kong Tournaments.
He told Zimlegends that it hasn’t been easy off the field as he nearly had some health issues because he just stopped being active but his doctor told him that he needed to keep exercising. He took up karate, gym and Crossfit. He started working as a translator and tour guide for a company in Cape Town; he travels throughout Africa with German tourists. He went on to tell Zimlegends that he was fortunate to lead a bunch of responsive guys who respected each other and made his captaincy easy. He told Zimlegends that he regrets nothing about his rugby career but regrets not being able to help the team qualify when they went to Madagascar in 2013 as he wasn’t a part of the team anymore. He continues to say it was a great career of 12 years and being recognized as a legend is quite humbling. He is branching into coaching; he has been coaching the Zimbabwean under 17 team. He is trying to give back to the community by assisting and coaching. He wants to teach young, upcoming rugby players that life on the field goes hand in hand with life off the field: if one is late to a rugby practice you would be late to whatever it is in life. “Whatever you learn on the rugby field can be applied in life”.