The Sunday Mail
“YOU are the best goalkeeper there is, I want you to go out there, play your heart out and make me and Zimbabwe proud.”
This was the message, from his girlfriend Amanda, which inspired Young Warriors goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva as he guarded goal away to Cameroon last Sunday.
As the Young Warriors left the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé, leaving their more illustrious opponents licking their wounds, there was consensus among the triumphant players that Mukuruva’s star had shone brightest.
Not even a first half goal by Brice Tchamabo, which was subsequently cancelled out by Blessing Moyo’s penalty, could blight the 19-year-old goalie’s contribution.
Captain Wisdom Mutasa led with the plaudits.
“ChiTate (Mukuruva) was the hero of the day, he made some breathtaking saves and we owe this result to him. He led from the back, encouraging us to soldier on,” Mutasa said of Mukuruva.
While Moyo scored the decisive goal, the right back reckons his Dynamos teammate was the man of the match.
“He saved just too many shots, attempts which even if they had gone in, nobody could have blamed him,” said Moyo.
For Mukuruva, the message from the love of his life fired him up for a big performance.
“Amanda is one of my biggest fans and I went into that game with a desire to make her proud,” he said.
However, amid the kudos Mukuruva is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“I have heard my teammates say I played very well, but for me everybody else did and we qualified as a team,” he said.
“However, if I am asked to single out individuals, then I will have to say it’s between Bisto (Blessing Moyo) and Gerald (Takwara).
“Before the match, we promised the coaches that we were going to make it despite the underdogs’ tag we were carrying.
“So when we entered the field of play it was time to fulfil that promise and the guys were just pumped up for the job because we all wanted to qualify and go on to play against the continent’s best at the finals in September.
“The atmosphere was electric, but I was never intimidated because I am used to playing in such environs so I was very composed.”