Musarurwa living his dream

ALEXANDRIA - Just three years ago Valentine Musarurwa could hardly believe he would command a first team place in the CAPS United first team after being registered as part of the club’s developmental players.

By then Musarurwa, who has since become one of the most talked about young players in the local Premiership, was only limited to a role as a bench warmer with limited opportunities in the starting team.

But the arrival of coach Mark Harrison in 2015 proved to be a turning point for the now 21-year-old defender as shortly afterwards Makepekepe were hit by a player exodus due to financial constraints.

With the club in crisis, Harrison had to rely on the young players who were willing to play despite all the background noise due to the precarious financial situation at the Harare giants.

Musarurwa’s first game for the Green Machine was against Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium — something he feels contributed a lot in shaping his career.

“I told myself that if I could perform against Highlanders then I can go on and play against anyone,” Musarurwa told the Daily News on Sunday.

“I was introduced as a second half substitute and after the game coach Harrison came to me and said ‘Well done’. We won the match 2-0 and since then I think my game has improved a lot.”

The Makepekepe graduate played in his biggest game of his career so far in Friday night’s 2-0 defeat to Egyptian giants Zamalek here in the African Champions League and impressed with a disciplined display silencing the menacing White Knights skipper Shikabala.

Despite ending on the losing side, Musarurwa had done enough to convince those who came to watch that he is a man on a mission while admitting his progress has also surprised him. 

“I have never expected anything like this,” said Musarurwa, who has earned rave views for the way he has acquitted himself in the CAPS United’s team.

“It’s amazing the opportunities you get at this club thanks to coach (Lloyd) Chitembwe. You are given your opportunity and it’s a question of taking your opportunity and grasping it. I have given my best and all I can do is to see what happens.”

“It was a great experience playing against Zamalek one of the biggest teams in Africa. I am just taking a game at a time. You look at the names of your opponents and get excited about facing these players and I am really enjoying it.”

Asked if he was nervous at Borg El Arab Stadium, where United went down in the end after holding their own for long periods, Musarurwa said: “Once I got a touch of the ball, the nerves kind of went away and I settled into the game.

“Remember, it was not my first international match. I also played twice against TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi and in Harare.

“So, it was nothing much of a difference. In any case the TP Mazembe game, for me was the most difficult match.

“Of course against Zamalek it was one of the biggest stadia that I have played in and the feeling was great despite losing the match.”

Chitembwe also praised Musarurwa’s rise saying he is destined for greatness.

“Not many players can achieve what he has achieved in the shortest period of time,” Chitembwe said.

“I am not even surprised because he works probably twice harder than anyone else. He is one player who can go and achieve a lot of things if he keeps his feet on the ground. He is playing like a seasoned player yet he will be turning 22 this year.

“He is something special and we are very fortunate to have him in our ranks.”

At the moment, Musarurwa is hoping to one day strike a contract outside the country but for now he is clearly determined to enjoy his game at CAPS United while it lasts and continue his development.

“I just want to continue playing well and see what happens in the future,” Musarurwa said.

“My hope is to play outside the country in the coming years. But of course what is important for me now is to keep on working hard.”

And after starting their campaign on a losing note Musarurwa, who also at a short stint with Harare United before joining United, is however, not bothered and believes they have what it takes to bounce back in the next matches.

“We still have a lot of matches to play and I am sure we will bounce back. It was a difficult way of losing, we had done well but it’s all part and parcel of football,” Musarurwa said.

“We need to quickly forget about this defeat and start thinking about our next matches. This game is now water under the bridges and what is important now is our next matches.”

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