The dream becomes a nightmare

Don Makanyanga
“I CONSIDER that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us,” reads Romans 8:18The Bible verse is also the WhatsApp status of deregistered FC Platinum midfielder Simon Shoko, whose career is in danger of being cut short by a knee injury he picked up while in camp with the Warriors in June.

Shoko, nicknamed Mr Zvishavane at Pure Platinum Play, was thanking the heavens when he got his maiden national call-up ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations soccer qualifier against Liberia.

However, the dream quickly morphed into a nightmare when he injured his knee after colliding with Evans Rusike at training.

“I was thrilled to be called up for the national team because it is the dream of every player to play for the national team. I felt like finally my hard work was beginning to get noticed. Unfortunately God had other plans for me and here I am having to deal with this injury,” said the 30-year-old midfield workhorse.

Shoko vividly remembers how it happened.

“I got possession at training and when I was about to turn I collided with Evans and tumbled to the ground. At that moment I never thought it was anything serious and neither did any member of the team. Even the ‘referee’ did not whistle for a foul because it was one of those normal things that happen at training.

“The doctors said I just needed rest but when I tried to do light training after the prescribed 48 hours the knee swelled and I immediately knew that I was out of the game against Liberia,” he said.

A depressed Simon Shoko shows off some of his medals in the company of his wife Rumbidzai Antonio and children Jayden and Ayanda.
A depressed Simon Shoko shows off some of his medals in the company of his wife Rumbidzai Antonio and children Jayden and Ayanda.

The news of Shoko’s injury was devastating to his wife, Rumbidzai, who had long prayed for the midfielder to get the Warriors break.

“My family was thrilled that I had finally made it into the national team, especially my wife who said our prayers had been answered. However, when she learnt that I was injured she was really hurt and I had to pick her up, give her confidence again.

“I told her that it was all part of God’s plan and we should accept what had happened. I am happy that she is beginning to appreciate the situation and is helping a lot with the diet.”

With the injury diagnosed as long-term, FC Platinum deregistered the central midfielder in the mid-season transfer window.

Shoko, who was rewarded with the vice captaincy earlier this season, understands why that call was made.

“I think it gives me time to concentrate on my rehabilitation, and it is also good for the team because they can register someone who can help in our quest to win the league title.

“I might have been deregistered but FC Platinum is fully behind me and the love I am getting from everyone is exceptional. Clearly I am not in this alone,” he said.

Born and bred in Zvishavane, Shoko has featured for the both the town’s arch rivals, FC Platinum and Shabanie Mine, and says he feels at home in either colours.

“The reason they call me Mr Zvishavane is that my roots are in Zvishavane and I am one of the few remaining players from the town who is still playing for FC Platinum,” he said.

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