Warriors’ COSAFA unsung hero
SKIPPER Ovidy Karuru might be hogging the limelight with his goals for Zimbabwe at the on-going COSAFA Castle Cup tournament in South Africa, but one of the unsung heroes of the Warriors’ bid for a record-breaking fifth title is versatile midfielder Liberty Chakoroma.
From his humble beginning in the duty streets of Sakubva in Mutare, Chakoroma has evolved into a player who prefers to let his feet do much of the talking and today he stands on the threshold of helping Zimbabwe win the 2017 Cosafa Castle Cup for the fifth record time.
Chakoroma’s brilliant start to the tournament has also left the Ngezi Platinum skipper on the radar of some South African Premiership clubs with.
It has emerged that the former Buffaloes man is among a number of Warri- ors stars that are being closely watched by teams in the South Africa, among them Chippa United, who have dispatched their scouts to the competition.
Should a deal be thrashed, it would be Chakaroma’s second flirtation with the South African game after having had a brief stint at Free State Stars in 2015.
He could also join the likes of Ocean Mushure, Michelle Katsvairo, Prince Dube, Takwara and Karuru who are being closely monitored by the cubs in the ABSA Premiership.
If it was not commanding the Buffaloes defence during the army side’s flirtation with the Castle Lager Premiership, then it was about inspiring Ngezi Platinum to the 2016 Chibuku Super Cup success and with it a place in the CAF Confederation Cup.
Chakoroma was also an integral part of Callisto Pasuwa’s Under-23 side that ended 20 years of waiting to feature at the African Games (formerly All-Africa Games) when they qualified for the 2015 Games in Congo Brazzaville.
At the on-going COSAFA Castle Cup Chakoroma, equally at home as a midfielder as he is at centre back, has also turned out to be one of the vital cogs coach Sunday Chidzambwa cannot afford to lose.
In the Warriors opening Group B game against Mozambique, Chakoroma was used as a holding midfielder but he has since found himself being switched in the heart of defence following the injury to Black Rhinos right back Jameson Mukombwe.
Chidzambwa reshuffled his defence after Mukombwe’s injury moving Eric Chipeta from centre half to the right with the gangly Chakoroma coming in to form a new partnership with Jimmy Tigere. Crucially for Chakoroma, he is one of five players in the squad that is in South Africa who have played every minute of the games so far.
The others are gritty midfielder Gerald Takwara, Chipeta, Tigere and Karuru.
“It is good that we are now in the final and my hope is that we will win it. In fact, I do not see anything stopping us,” he said.
As he relishes the opportunity of winning his first major silverware with the national team, Chakoroma told Post Sport about his ambitions to play outside of the country as we as win honours with the national team.
“I was never into football but coach Timothy ‘Sicho’ Masachi encouraged me to play the game. When I was a young player I trained with a team called La Sakubva. Mutare shaped my football from the age of eight years and I left when I was 17. It is my wish to see more of the young players who are emerging in Mutare to aim for the top and stay focused,’’ Chakoroma said.
In his short journey with the top flight game, Chakoroma has also shown leadership qualities and Ngezi Platinum coach Tonderai Ndiraya did not hesitate to give him the captain’s arm band for the current Premiership table toppers.
His height and physique has also made him one of Chidzambwa’s favourites as the Warriors gaffer who builds his teams on the back of solid defences likes strong men in that department.
And with Chakoroma and his colleagues in the rearguard taking no prisoners, Chidzambwa has been left one of the happiest coaches at the COSAFA tournament where his side has also been lethal in attack scoring 16 goals in five matches and conceding four goals.