Rusike carries Hwange's hopes

HARARE - Castle Premiership side Hwange may not be bookmakers’ favourite team to lift the 2015 championship but with the likes of forward Evans Rusike, the coal miners are not totally counting themselves out of the title equation.

Rusike was one of the standout performers last year and was duly rewarded by being named amongst the finest 11 players of the 2014 season.

His exploits did not go unnoticed as several local clubs quickly moved in to try and lure the services of the highly-rated 23-year-old away from Hwange.

However, offers from teams like reigning champions Dynamos and last season’s runners-up ZPC Kariba were all turned down by Chipangano as they sought to keep their most treasured asset into the 2015 Premiership season.

And with the new season upon us, Rusike who banged eight goals for Hwange last season is relishing the challenge of spearheading his team’s charge this year.

“Every year has its plans, I am just expecting more from myself this year,” Rusike tells the Daily News.

“We have the same squad from last year and two additional juniors. We know each other very well. We have been together for some time so it won’t be hard for us,” he says.

The last born in a family of two, Rusike was raised by a single mother in the dormitory town of Chitungwiza.

Just like many young Zimbabweans, school always came first but his first love was always football.

“Growing up, my mum always wanted me to focus on school work. She would always say chimbosiya zvebhora (leave football). But you know as a football lover ndaitiza paden ndoenda vasingazive ndichiti ndaenda kunoverenga nevamwe (I would sneak out of the house, with the excuse that I am going to read when I am actually going to play football),” he says.

“As time went on, I found out that God has given me this talent. My coach came to talk to my mother, advising her that I had talent, (he would say) ‘musamurambidze kutamba bhora (don’t forbid him from playing football).”

“When I went to high school, during the holidays I would play for Black Rhinos juniors. I went on to play for Dynamics Academy, Kiglon and later Zimbabwe Saints. That’s where I began my career but sadly Zim Saints was only in the premiership for one season whilst I was there.

“Hwange is the team that gave me prominence. I am getting game time and the coaches are patient with me.”

The unassuming footballer says his mother is still around and has since had a change of heart about his love for football.

“She started supporting me when I was playing for Black Rhinos juniors. Ndanga ndakutopihwa mari yebus kuenda ku training (she would give me bus fare to go to training) and now she’s very proud of me and I thank God for her support.”

And if he feels rewarded so far in his fledgling career, Rusike says “not yet”.

“I know there’s a lot I must get from it but its giving me a better life.”

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