BY ALBERT MARUFU
LIKE all Rastafarians, Highlanders playmaker, Peter “Rio” Moyo describes himself as a “true Rasta” and like the biblical Samson, derives his strength from his hair.
To him, the Rasta “way of life” is his motivating factor and every time he puts on the Rasta wrist band and headband (red, green and yellow), he becomes aware of the battle that lies ahead.
Like the roaring lion of the tribe of Judah, Moyo has terrorised many opponents in the jungles of our local stadia and is largely the reason table topping Highlanders are on course of winning their first championship since 2006.
With 13 games still to be played with Bosso leading with 39 points, seven ahead of second placed Shabanie, Moyo and his teammates may not be far from realising their dream.
Though he has found the target only once, Moyo has been the reason behind Bosso’s 17-game unbeaten run which has seen the team banging 36 goals and conceding 10.
Largely an unknown quantity before the start of the season, Moyo is blessed with the ability to use both feet, very good on the ball, can create openings for others. He also comes back to defend.
His combination with the experienced Mthulisi Maphosa, Bhekimpilo Ncube and his ability to find holes for Masimba Mambare and Milton Ncube has been a marvel for many Bosso supporters.
The defence, led by captain Innocent Mapuranga, Eric Mudzingwa and goalkeeper Ariel Si-banda, is equally good, but it is in the midfield where Moyo operates from that has proved to be the heartbeat of Bosso.
“I am a Rastafarian and that is my motivating factor. Rastas preach about unity and am happy that this is the situation at Highlanders where we also thrive on unity of purpose. We play as a united team and do not rely on individuals.
“I am happy with what we have achieved so far, but we still have a long way to go. Our goal is the title,” Moyo boldly declared.
Moyo, who made his national team debut against Botswana last month, was born in a family of two on May 8 1988 in Pumula East in Bulawayo.
He started his soccer career at Ingwegwe Primary School and went on to become one of the best players while at Magwegwe High School.
“I played for Highlanders Under-19 in Division One after completing my O-level in 2005,” said Moyo, who was nicknamed Rio while in his youth because of his “Brazilian style of play”.
However, at the age of 18 in 2006, Moyo quit soccer to go to South Africa.
unlike most soccer players, he left his soccer boots behind and he, together with his footballer friends Njabulo Ncube and Chicken Inn’s Makashi Ncube, traded their soccer boots for menial labour.
“I worked as a carpenter at a construction company in South Africa and during spare time we played social football. That is when some people advised me to go back home to revive my career,” said Moyo.
“I came back home in 2010 and played for Big 11 in the lower division and then joined Quelaton in 2011, which was in Division One. We were promoted to the Premiership, but I then rejoined Highlanders. My hope is to break into the national team and also play in Europe or return to South Africa as a soccer player.”
Former Highlanders and Zimbabwe kingpin Peter Ndlovu described Moyo as the best of his generation.
“When I first saw him as a junior, I could see that he was going to be a national assert. That is why I was not surprised by his performance when I saw him playing for Highlanders when they won 4-0 in their first match of the season (against WWS Rangers),” he said.
“He should keep his heard down. Right now he is a star, but he should know that we all have bad patches in life and supporters never notice. I am glad that he is not only very talented, but a down to earth youngster.”
With that coming from the country’s legend of the game, need we say more?