23 November, 2010

The Soccer Inside... Vitalis Digital Takawira

By no means gone from soccer, Vitalis, or “Digital” (I always believed that was his real first name when I watched him play as I grew up), is still at home with the soccer ball.

In the years following his time with MLS outfit Kansas City Wiz (yeah, and they had rainbow colored uniforms too, want to make something of it?), Vitalis signed with A League team, the Milwaukee Rampage and went on to play for them until they folded in 2002. He then signed with the Milwaukee Wave before finally retiring from his playing career in 2004. Currently, he plies his trade developing youth soccer talent for Lake Country United Soccer in Hartland, Wisconsin.

We caught up with Vitalis “Digital” Takawira following one of his youth club’s solid outings over the Halloween weekend in Madison, Wisconsin and asked him about his career, goal celebrations, and supporter scarves in this TSI exclusive:

TSI: What was your proudest moment as a player?

Vitalis Digital Takawira: My proudest? Perhaps when I scored three goals against Cameroon. They are a great team and that was a great moment for me. I will always remember my first goal for Kansas City, but that match against Cameroon was my best.

TSI: What was your first call-up to the Zimbabwe National Team? What was it like?

VDT: Oh, we played against South Africa for my first time with the national team. You remember? That was the first time the ban on South Africa had been lifted after apartheid. It was truly an amazing game. I was called in and I honestly did not think I was going to even play, but the coach started me and I had a great game. It was also my first goal for Zimbabwe.

TSI: Who was your favorite opposing player?

VDT: I would have to say Rigobert Song. He just retired this year from Cameroon National Team. Very tough opponent on the field.

TSI: How about your favorite player to have on your team, the one who you always loved playing along side?

VDT: Ah, yes, Preki [from my days playing with the KC Wizards]. No doubt about it. As a midfielder, he just understood where and when to play the ball to you. His vision on the field was excellent.

TSI: Okay, the Digital Crawl. Why don’t we see someone pull that classic celebration anymore? (For those of you at home, and no it’s not on youtube, the digital crawl is best described as a multi-person caterpillar crawling around on all fours with each person holding onto the ankles of the person in front of them while Digital leads them around the field. Truly a Top 10 goal celebration of all time).

VDT: I don’t know. To me, that was the greatest thing to do, score a goal, and when you score, why wouldn’t you want to celebrate? I just enjoy seeing players celebrate after the goal, because the bottom line is that we play to score goals.

TSI: I’ve got to know, where did the nickname “Digital” come from?

VDT: It came from my first club team, Dynamos, in Zimbabwe. When you graduate to the first team, the supporters give you a nickname. It was they who gave me that name. Perhaps because they thought I was so quick and controlled on the ball, like something digital, like a computer or camera.

TSI: When the KC Wiz named a man of the match, the KC Mystic Supporters would give the MOM a scarf with the date of the game on it. One of our contributors gave his KC Mystics Supporter Scarf to Uche Okafor when he won a MOM during the 1996 season. Do you still have any of your 3 scarves you won during your first year with the Wiz (1996)?

VDT: I still have all three. I sent two home to my family in Zimbabwe, but I still have one here. I think it is from my first match for Kansas City. I scored the first goal of the game, and the first goal ever for Kansas City that day. That is another game I remember well.

TSI: Thank you again for your time and good luck to you and your team for the remainder of the season.

Photo: TSI


  1. Oh yes, anyone who knows their MLS trivia knows the answer to the question: "Who scored the first goal in Kansas City Wiz history?"

    Vitalis "Digital" Takawira of Zimbabwe.

    It is nice to know that a moment that is so meaningful for the fans is even more meaningful for the man on the field who scored the goal.

    Didn't know about that hat trick against Cameroon, that is some serious competition. Is that why you dug up the Roger Milla footage?

    Have to wonder if those teenage kids for Lake Country United realize their coach is a true international talent with experience at the highest level in World Cup qualifying campaigns and African Nations Cup tournaments?

  2. They had some clue. The ones that didn't were the players and parents on the teams they played. I had three parents who thought I was out scouting players and when I pointed out Vitalis, they were like, "who is that?"

    It was awesome talking to Vitalis, though. Can't find much about him online, let alone many of his game records. Never was one to rely on Wiki for facts. I do wish someone would post some video of the Digital Crawl though online.

    As for the Roger Milla highlight, little of that and a little because the guy was a stud. Definitely a can't miss when you stumble upon his highlights.

  3. As one of the 21,131 who saw it live: LIKE!

  4. I grew up watching Digital Takawira when he played for Dynamos FC. He is one of Dynamos' all-time greats. In '94 he was used as a super sub despite being the best player on the team, and he still won Africa's Golden Boot.

  5. If I may also add - MLS killed his career. He would've been better off playing in Europe.


  7. I was with Digi at the Milwaukee Rampage. He is an amazing talent, and excellent person. He also loved spending time with youth players, and everybody loved him at many a camp, clinic, and youth team practice. Glad to see he is doing well, although I found this interview a few years too late!

  8. we miss those moments in Zimbabwe.I remember the combination of Digital,Doctor ,Gwenzi and Hokoyo.You wouldn't miss a match.That was soccer at its best in Zimbabwe.


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