Thomas Chideu's incredible rise

HARARE - Only nine months ago, Thomas Chideu (pictured) was writing his O’ Level exams at Prince Edward School.

Fast forward to present day and the 19-year-old is now living the dream of most young boys his age in Zimbabwe.

This afternoon, he is likely to be in the Zimbabwe Under-23 side starting XI to face South Africa in the first leg of the African Under-23 Champions final qualifier.

Soon after today’s match, the 19-year-old will catch the next plane to South Africa and join his new teammates at Ajax Cape Town for pre-season training.

Ajax Cape Town has been a stepping stone to Europe which opened the doors for many South African football stars like Steve Pienaar, Aaron Mokoena, Benni McCarthy and Thulani Serero.

Even Zimbabwean stars Khama Billiat and Willard Katsande all turned out for Ajax before making big money moves to Mamelodi Sundowns and Kaizer Chiefs respectively.

Now Chideu is following in those footsteps after a brief stint with Bulawayo giants Highlanders.

The former Prince Edward striker’s mercurial rise started when he signed for Bosso early this year after impressing at the The National Association of Secondary Heads Under-20 football tournament, which is bank-rolled by Population Services International.

After only featuring in eight Castle Lager Premiership matches for Bosso, Chideu now opens a new chapter in his short-lived football career that also saw him enjoy a stint in England during a student exchange programme in 2013.

“Truth be told, I can’t still believe that I’ll be playing for Ajax soon. At first, I thought it was all a big joke that Ajax would be interested in me.

“I went for trials and did my best but when my agent (Gibson Mahachi) told me Ajax had tabled an offer it was a surreal feeling.

“I would like to thank God because I’ve been playing in the Premiership for only six months and now I have signed a professional contract with Ajax,” Chideu tells the Daily News on Sunday.

It has been an astounding rise for the young boy from Old Highfield, who admits that life has not been rosy for his family.

Born in a family of three boys, Chideu and his two elder brothers Simba and Kudzai had to rely solely on their mother, Estere Marimo for their upkeep after their father Gilbert passed on in 2005.

“When my father passed on, I was in Grade Four and it became difficult for my entire family. Our mother had to work long hours to put food on the table.

“Things were pretty tough during those days and I would like to give credit to my mother because she struggled hard. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my mother’s support. There were times when she would only pay half of my school fees and use the other half to buy football boots.

“She made such sacrifices because she knew that I was talented. Her efforts paid off since I’m now joining Ajax and my brother is also playing in the Premier League with Dongo Sawmills,” says Chideu.

Chideu’s mother says she is still in dreamland following her son’s move from Highlanders to the Urban Warriors.

“I cannot even explain how I’m feeling at the moment. I’m so happy with what my son has achieved at the moment.

“When their father passed away, I struggled to make ends meet with my three boys but with the grace of God anything is possible.

“Thomas’ career is taking off; he’s playing for the national team and now he will be going to Ajax, I never imagined such a thing would happen.

“My hope now is that Thomas puts God first. He must remain grounded and disciplined because I don’t want him to be content with playing for Ajax only. He should use this opportunity to play well and hopefully he can attract the interest of European clubs,” she said.

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