Manuvire's long road to recovery

HARARE - “The hardest thing is knowing where I was before, knowing how I worked to get there, and losing it all in a matter of seconds.”

True to his words, Raphael Manuvire’s career went up in smoke in a matter of seconds after the ZPC Kariba midfielder was at the receiving end of a nasty challenge from Chapungu United’s Blessed Mbuvarira in June 2014.

It was a bad tackle, a potentially career-ending one, the kind of life-changing injury that caused the 26-year-old rising star, to start thinking of new ways to make a living.

“I can only remember what led up to the tackle,” Manuvire said.

“The next thing I remembered was waking up in the hospital. For the first two months I had zero feeling on the leg.

“I wouldn’t know if someone was touching my leg. I couldn’t even wiggle my little toe. It got to the point where I thought I might never play football again.”

There is no doubt that Manuvire was enjoying the best football of his career when the injury occurred.

The former Douglas Warriors and Mwana Africa left winger had two goals and several assists in the 11 matches that he had featured in for the Kariba-based side.

He seemed certain to build on his performance from the previous season when he helped the side win promotion into the Castle Premiership by winning the Northern Region Division One League.

“That time I was enjoying my game. I felt like I was taking my game to the next level,” Manuvire added.

“I was really hurt when I got injured, I wished I had played 15 games maybe I could have made it to the calendar but such is life. I came to understand that it’s also part of the game.

“I just know that I have been through pain, and I have gotten tired, weak and felt like I could not do something, but I have always tried to push through.

“But God is just really been loving me and lifting me up and giving me the mindset that I can get it done and I can tell you I am almost 75 percent fit.  

“I don't know how people could get through it without their faith.  I mean, who would you hold on to?  I pray all during the day. I used to pray a lot before, but even more so now.”

It was not an easy six months for the Kadoma-born star without kicking the ball. Physical therapy was nearly unbearable at times.

But the 26-year-old is nearing a return to full fitness and is already in his last stages of his recovery process.

“I am just, in general a positive person,” he says.

“I look at it from the perspective where it's a good challenge. Can I get back to where I was before? If I fail, I fail.

“But I am going to give everything I have to do it. I hope to pick up from where I left. I am doing everything and I hope to start full training when the season begins.

“The doctors told me to make more use of the gym and I am getting better every day.”

Manuvire also paid tribute to his club ZPC Kariba, who stood by him during the trying times.

He added: “I would like to thank my team for all the support that they have given me. I was getting everything including the winning bonuses. There are very few clubs who can do that in this country.

“I owe them a lot and when I return I would do everything to repay the faith that they have shown in me.”

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