From the States with love

03 Mar, 2019 - 00:03 0 Views
From the States with love

The Sunday Mail

Don Makanyanga

THIRTEEN-years after packing his bags and high-tailing it to the United States of America; Farai Mutatu is now ready to heed the call of his gaffer Tonderayi Ndiraya and comeback home to represent the country of his birth.

The 19-year-old Mutatu is one of many young Zimbabwean footballers dotted around the globe who are waiting on that all-important call.

Especially now, with the Under-23 Afcon qualifiers mere weeks away. Zimbabwe play Mozambique in the first round with the first leg set for Maputo on March 22 and the reverse fixture on March 26.

“It is always a dream for each and every player to represent his country, Zimbabwe is my home country and it will be an honour to play for the national team, no matter the age group,” said Mutatu.

His football journey began when his parents were forced to return to Zimbabwe from the United States of America in 2014 due to visa issues leaving behind the then 12-year- old and his four siblings. For someone who, after the unfortunate incident of 2014, had to endure two years without hearing the voice of his parents, the advent of social media has been a life saver. The Michigan State University forward is now closer to his country of birth than ever and donning the national team colours is no longer a dream but an achievable goal.

“It took me more than two years to hear the voice of my parents after they returned home in 2014 but thanks to WhatsApp, we now talk every day.

“They have been there telling me how it is like back home and over the years I have shared with them my dream of representing my country,” he said. For someone who strongly believes in spirituality, a call from Warriors manager Wellington Mpandare was the miracle he prayer for.

“My mom is a pastor, so she always motivates us (family) spiritually and to me receiving a call from the Warriors manager asking me if I was available for selection, was a miracle,” said Mutatu.

Every time Mutatu scores a goal he points to the sky, a trademark celebration that is dedicated to his parents who are 14 000km away.

“If I score a goal, I just point up. It’s not me, it’s from above. I think about my mom and my dad. It’s one of those things to be far from home but they still motivate me and have kept me going over the years,” said Mutatu.

In 2016 Mutatu was selected to be part of the US Soccer Under-16 national team but failed to break into the team because of citizenship issues.

“With time I have realised that my heart is with Zimbabwe and I am choosing to play for the Zimbabwe national team,” says Mutatu.

His dream of donning the Young Warriors jersey may come true on March 22 when Zimbabwe play Mozambique in the first round qualify of the U-23 Afcon qualifiers.

Young Warriors coach Tonderai Ndiraya who is expected to announce the squad this week revealed that they will give a chance to all players that are available.

“We have received the videos of many players outside our boarders and I am pleased that we have abundant talent which we can use as a foundation for our senior national team,” said Ndiraya.

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