Hard work pays off for Bukhosi

BULAWAYO - Although he wears the number 10 shirt, Bantu Rovers captain forward Bukhosi “Zaku” Sibanda models his game around the Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s number 7 shirt is world famous.

Even the way Sibanda moves on the pitch resembles the Portugal captain and the comparisons do not stop there. 

Sibanda also prefers to wear the CR7 football boots, the signature line global sportswear giant Nike manufacturer’s for Ronaldo.

The Tshintsha Guluva forward has also been a thorn in the flesh for most local defenders in the Castle Lager Premiership.

For a 20-year-old striker making his debut in the top flight league, Sibanda has already hit the ground running after scoring 10 goals in his club’s 16 matches so far.

Although Bantu are struggling with only two wins to leave them sitting just one place off the bottom of the log with only six points.

However, Sibanda has been the shining beacon for the Bulawayo-based side which is famous for nurturing some of the contemporary stars of Zimbabwean football.

Kuda Mahachi, Teenage Hadebe and Marvellous Nakamba all honed their skills at Bantu Rovers.

Sibanda is, however, not the one to claim all the credit for the good season he is having so far.

“I would say my coaches, team mates, family and close friends take credit to my performance this season,” he told the Daily News on Sunday.

“My secret is working hard and believing in God all the time. I always want to make sure that I give my best.

“I take each game as it comes and whatever role the coaches give me to help the team.”

Asked about the target of goals he has set for himself this season, Sibanda said:  “I do not have a personal goal target but to help the team as much as I can. I am actually inspired by CR7, the way he plays, his determination and his hunger for goals.”

Born on January 24, 1997, Sibanda grew up in Mzilikazi where he was introduced to football on the streets just like many youngsters in the suburb.

He attended St Patricks’ Primary School where he was discovered by Bantu Rovers, who are part of the Grassroots Soccer Africa, an institution created by Methembe Ndlovu and his American partners Tommy Clark, Ethan Zohn and Kirk Friedrich.

While he admits that he is having a season of his life at his boyhood team, Sibanda has thus far counted the match against Yadah at Luveve Stadium last month as his best ever.

“I will always remember the day because I scored my first ever hat-trick in the Premier League,” he said.

Bantu went on to win the game 7-2 in a match that will also be remembered for the wrong reasons after Yadah travelled without their technical team after they had fallen out with team owner Walter Magaya.

After finding the back of the net regularly, there is no doubt a number of local teams and even those from across the borders will want to price Sibanda away from Bantu.

But at the moment, the striker is not thinking of making a move away from his boyhood club.

“I played for Bantu Rovers Juniors up until I was promoted to play for the first team when I was 17 years old in 2014. I have been with Bantu Rovers since Under-14 and it’s my team in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“Right from the beginning I have always I liked playing as a striker while wearing jersey number 10.

“My dream is to play abroad, and I feel Bantu can be a platform for that opportunity as has been the case with other former players who are now playing outside Zimbabwe.”

Finally, how did he get the nickname Zaku, Sibanda said: “I was given the name by my teacher in 2009 after he realised I was in love with the 2010 World Cup mascot Zakumi and everybody started calling me Zaku and the name has stuck on with me.”

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