ON the night of December 13, 2013, Tawanda Muparati sat on the king’s throne.
Everyone wanted a piece of him and the then Dynamos skipper really enjoyed his moment under the glittering lights.
Muparati had just been named 2013 Soccer Star of the Year and the local media stampeded to get an interview with the man who had been the leading light of a rolling DeMbare side that had clinched its third straight league title under Kallisto Pasuwa.
But times have changed. Last Thursday, there was no stampede at all at GMB Aspindale Sports Club where the forgotten Muparati is trying to launch a return to Premiership football.
After his troublesome knee rendered him excess personnel at How Mine, Muparati has fallen out of the limelight. An attempted return to his beloved DeMbare at the beginning of the 2017 season was futile.
Lloyd Mutasa, the coach who introduced him to Premiership football back in 2011, probably felt there was nothing left in Muparati’s 33-year-old left foot. Since then, a lot has been said about the 2013 Soccer Star of the Year’s fall from grace while some have begun writing his football obituary.
“He has taken to the bottle, he has also become a womaniser,” are some of the nasty things being said on the streets of Rugare, the midfielder’s home suburb in Harare.
Muparati dismisses the slurs.
“I am not finished. All the things you hear about me are lies. I can still play for any Premiership club. Mufakose is a good stepping stone,” he said rather defiantly last week. Muparati blames his demise on a knee injury suffered at the Stade Tata Raphael in Kinshasa on March 9, 2014 when Dynamos lost a Champions League match 0-1 to DRC side AS Vita.
“I think that was the beginning of my problems career wise. It started off as just a swollen knee and I made the mistake of not consulting the doctors early. I headed straight for training the following week and when the scan was finally done I was shocked to learn that that I had developed a serious knee problem.”
Muparati joined How Mine from Dynamos in 2015 and spent two seasons in Bulawayo where he made cameo appearances, thanks to that niggling knee. However, Muparati feels he is fully fit now.
“I am fully fit now, I can feel it. I tried to return to Dynamos at the beginning of the season but it was not to be. No hard feelings for coach Lloyd, he is the one who took me to DeMbare and I am happy things are now okay for him these days.
“Dynamos are a big team and they belong among the best. I think they have a strong chance of winning the league; their only big challenge should be Ngezi Platinum Stars. The rest will falter,” predicted Muparati.
Mufakose United coach Tendai Chapfika has spent enough time with Muparati to conclude that the former Warriors player still has “something to offer”.
“Muparati is not finished; he has actually added balance to my team. He remains one of the most intelligent players around and still has a lot to offer I think.
“If you look at our results since his arrival you will see his importance, we have been picking up points in recent weeks,” said Chapfika.
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