'Dauda is my inspiration'

HARARE - Tatenda Mapingire did not celebrate with any vigour when he helped Flame Lily win promotion into the Castle Premiership for the 2015 season.

The Zimbabwe Prisons Correctional Service (ZPCS) side won the World Navi Northern Region Division One League when they beat ZRP FC 2-0 in the last match of the 2014 season.

With the win the Nesbert Saruchera’s men amassed a total of 76 points, three ahead of second-placed Gunners.

This season, the ZPCS side will be rubbing shoulders with traditional Zimbabwean giants like Dynamos, Highlanders and CAPS United.

Playing in the top flight league also has its fantastic benefits like having your matches screened across the continent on SuperSport TV.

There are also more chances of getting a call-up to the national team since most coaches have a bias of picking players from the Premiership.

With all this in mind, the 28-year-old Mapingire toned down on his celebrations knowing that only 12 months earlier he was in a similar position with ZPC Kariba.

“When we won promotion with Flame Lily, I was pretty pleased but I did not celebrate a lot because of what had happened to me when I was still at ZPC Kariba,” Mapingire tells the Daily News on Sunday.

It is unusual for someone who has just been promoted into the Premiership not to celebrate but Mapingire’s reason for a toned down jubilation is understandable.

“In 2013 I had a great year with ZPC Kariba and we won promotion to the Premiership that year,” he says.

“I still remember the day we were promoted and the celebrations were very wild at that time but soon that all changed at the start of 2014.

“Jostein Mathuthu, who was our coach at the time, had his contract not renewed and the club appointed Saul Chaminuka.

“We only held three training sessions with Chaminuka at the start of the year and he decided to release me together with 17 other players.”

It was a bitter blow for Mapingire together with his teammates who were deemed excess baggage by Chaminuka at ZPC.

“My dream was to play in the Premiership and at that point I thought I would realise my dream with ZPC but it never materialised,” he says.

“It was a painful experience but I did not let that get to me because I knew God had other ideas for me.

“That’s when I decided to join Flame Lily. It was disappointing to go back to Division One again but there was no other choice I could make.

“From the onset, it was a good choice because I was playing again and I scored in the first three matches of the season which made my arrival there smooth.”

After another long season, Mapingire and Flame Lily were rewarded for their efforts as they will be playing in the top flight league this season.

The ZPCS side began their pre-season preparations earlier this month and Mapingire has set his sights on shining in the Premiership.

“Dennis Dauda and Tendai Hove are my inspiration because I was playing together with them only a year ago in Division One but last year they were crowned Soccer Star of the Year and Goalkeeper of the Year respectively,” says the Glen View-born forward.

“If I work hard there will be nothing that can stop me from making a name for myself in the Premiership because I’ve seen that it is possible.

“As Flame Lily we are not targeting a fairytale run in the top flight like what ZPC did last season; we are just want to make sure we are not relegated in our first season but with football you never know what might happen.”

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