Garananga makes ultimate sacrifice

HARARE – Munashe Garananga might not be a household name but he is one of the many young Zimbabwean footballers hoping to make a career in the cut-throat world of professional football.

In order to realise his dream of making it in the football world and probably one day represent the Warriors, the 16-year-old made the ultimate sacrifice.

Garananga packed his bags and decided to quit school and leave home after he was offered a place at South African National First Division (NFD) side Ubuntu Cape Town FC’s Academy.

The defender, who is also comfortable in midfield, was scheduled to write his ‘‘O’’ Level examinations but he could not let this opportunity pass.

“It was a good opportunity that I could not let pass, all this because of my desire to be a professional footballer,” Garananga told the Daily News from Cape Town.

“All my life I have always wanted to be a footballer and I think I’m at the right place to develop my game to be a top player.”

The Warren Park-born midfielder is, however, not giving up on school completely because he knows that it is not cast in stone that he will make it to the top of professional football.

“Of course I deferred writing my examinations but here in Cape Town after training we do home schooling and online lessons,” Garananga said.

“I know I have to finish school to have something to fall back on if football does not work out. I will be writing my examinations next year.”

But how did he end up joining Ubuntu Cape Town in the first place?

“I was playing for Prince Edward School in the Junior League and the club wanted to sign a player for their Academy. They were interested in my teammate Albert Manenji,” he said.

“The coaches sent videos of our matches to Ubuntu so they could have a closer look at him but they ended up requesting for both of us to come over for a trial stint in October last year.”

The two young players impressed the Ubuntu Cape Town Academy coaches and were offered contracts to start their enrolment in February this year.

However, uprooting your life and relocating over 2 500km away from family and friends when you are just a teenager is not an easy decision to make.

World Cup winner Andres Iniesta of Spain revealed that he cried on the very first day his parents left him as a 12-year-old at Barcelona’s famed academy at La Masia in 1996.

Iniesta described it as the worst day in his life and it could not have been any better for Garananga when he joined Ubuntu Cape Town FC.

“It’s a difficult situation leaving home when you are my age and going to live in a different country away from your family and friends,” he said.

“There are times that you get home sick and miss family but these are the sacrifices I have to make if I’m to make it to the top.”

While making the step up from the Academy side to the first team is no easy feat, Garananga has got plenty of players to look up to for inspiration.

Former Bantu Rovers captain and forward Bukhosi Sibanda is already on the books of Ubuntu Cape Town FC in the NFD.

Temptation Chiwunga, the young brother of Black Rhinos forward Lot, is also at the club together with Obriel Chirinda and Ranga Chivariro.         

“What motivates me to keep on working hard is that I have seen some of my teammates and friends get promoted to play for the NFD first team,” he said.

“There is Luke Fleurs (17), Jesse Donn (18) and Ryan Serfontein (19), who are all playing in the first team.”

At the moment, Garananga’s aim is to make sure that he develops into a complete player and once he ticks all the boxes; the next target is earning that precious Warriors first cap.

“I know I still have a long way to go but representing my country has always been my biggest dream; hopefully I will be able to fulfil that dream.”

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