Warriors’ COSAFA un­sung hero

The Manica Post - - Front Page - Pet­ros Kausiyo in SUN CITY, South Africa

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.

Lib­erty Chako­roma

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