Danny Phiri remains modest

BULAWAYO – Chicken Inn  holding midfielder Danny ‘Deco’ Phiri played his way into the hearts of many football fans that watched the recent friendly encounter between Zimbabwe and South Africa in mid-week.

The 24-year old midfielder combined well with Kaiser Chiefs hardman Willard Katsande to provide an impenetrable cover for the Warriors central defence partnership of AmaZulu’s Carlington Nyadombo and Phiri’s Game Cocks teammate Felix Chindungwe.

Zimbabwe won the match 2-1 courtesy of goals from Knowledge Musona and Cuthbert Malajila while the hosts scored a late consolation through Bernard Parker. 

Phiri’s performance left many football pundits convinced that he is the perfect midfield partner for Katsande but the player himself refuses to be carried away by the plaudits.

“It’s a good thing that I have become part of the national team set up again because it is something that I have been looking forward to for a long time,” Phiri tells the Daily News on Sunday.

“I am still getting used to playing in a new environment and I think the best approach is to take things slowly and remain focused.”

Phiri was part of the senior national team a few years ago and made a return when he was called up by short lived Warriors coach and German national Klaus – Dieter Pagels who has since been replaced by Ian Gorowa.

Gorowa kept Phiri on the sidelines in the World Cup 2014 dead rubber against Mozambique last weekend where Katsande played as the lone defensive linkman and Zimbabwe struggling in central midfield.

Phiri was then thrown into the fray against the more fancied Bafana Bafana and he went on to win the praise of the South African television commentators who said he had run his socks providing cover for his defenders.

“I played with the likes of Khama (Billiat) and Knowledge (Musona) in the Young Warriors so I felt at home when lining up alongside them against South Africa,” Phiri explained.

The Mzilikazi-based player started his football career at the now defunct AmaZulu Juniors while still doing Grade Five at Lobengula Primary School.

He then moved to join Railstars Juniors after spending two seasons at the Delma Lupepe owned Usuthu.

Phiri stayed with Railstars until he graduated into the senior team before he was snapped up by Bantu Rovers in 2009.

After Tshintsha Guluva’s relegation in 2010 Phiri moved to Chicken Inn where he established himself as a versatile midfielder who can play as a defensive linkman or in an advanced attacking position behind the strikers.

He says he enjoys playing alongside the hard tackling Thabani Goredema in central midfield and singled out Monomotapa’s slippery captain Ronald ‘Rooney’ Chitiyo as his most difficult opponent.

Phiri attended Sobukhazi High School for his secondary education but says he did not feature much for the school team as he was already playing in the paid ranks.

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