Tafirenyika rekindles old self

HARARE - ZPC Kariba's midfield genius Pride “Predator” Tafirenyika says winning the Castle Premiership title will be an emotional reward for the trials and tribulations he faced during a troubled stay at CAPS United.

The Agatha Shaneti Soccer Academy graduate was a rising star in Zimbabwean football when he joined CAPS in 2010 from Shooting Stars.

Initially, Tafirenyika was a mainstay in the Makepekepe line-up in his first two seasons but thing went pear-shaped in the 2012 and 2013 seasons.

Tafirenyika looked to be a spent force especially last season, failing to break into the Green Machine starting XI amid allegations of excessive beer drinking and indiscipline.

At the start of the 2014 season, the 29-year-old opted for newly promoted ZPC Kariba in a bid to put behind him a forgettable season with Makepekepe.

True to motivation, the indefatigable midfielder has been a proverbial phoenix in the ZPC Kariba midfield hub this season.

Along with unsung players in the mould of Tawanda Munyanduri, Elvis Meleka, Limited Chikafa, Tawanda Nyamandwe and Dennis Dauda, they have put in some exceptional performances that have steered ZPC to the apex of the Premiership standings.

The ZPC midfielder is happy with how he has acquitted himself despite having been labelled a spent force in the last few years.

“I am happy with the way we have played this season. I could not have hoped for a better year,” Tafirenyika tells the Daily News on Sunday.

“I have played as well as I set out at the beginning because people were not giving me a chance.

“Getting injured last season did not help my cause. A lot of people wrote me off vachiti ndapera (they were saying I was finished).

“That’s when I said to myself ‘let me move and start a new life with ZPC Kariba.”

On the allegations of alcohol abuse and indiscipline during his stay at Makepekepe Tafirenyika said:

“Well you know people. People will always talk. When you are down people will always talk.”

At ZPC, the midfielder was reunited with Saul Chaminuka, who was the CAPS assistant coach in 2013.

Tafirenyika credits Chaminuka for rekindling his career and that of many other players deemed to have been way past their sell-by dates.

“He (Chaminuka) has been pushing us since the season begun. At first our goal was to finish in the top eight but then we started so well going on a number of games unbeaten, before we knew it we were in with a chance for the championship,” says Tafirenyika.

ZPC are now one win away from matching the exploits Black Rhinos in the 80s, who won the top-flight league at first attempt.

The Zimbabwe Power Company-owned team face CAPS United this afternoon at Gwanzura Stadium with a two point lead over second-placed Dynamos, who face How Mine in other title deciding fixture.

Tafirenyika is confident that ZPC will get the desired result and they will be crowned champions at the end of today.

“Despite all the permutations we just want to win our game and decide our own fate without worrying what happens elsewhere,” says Tafirenyika.

The former Shooting Stars performances have endeared him to critics and fans alike.

Many have even argued that had it not been for accumulating more than six yellow cards Tafirenyika would have earned a place among the 11 finest players of the season.

“I was hurt because some of those yellow cards were unwarranted. It’s so painful, but life has to go on,” he says.

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