POOR academic results are demoralising to any parent and the student alike.
Report by Albert Marufu
However, for Mufakose High II goalkeeper Onismo Matava, they serve as an inspiration to pursue other avenues for survival.
By his own admission, Matava said he is not sharp enough at school and through football, the 17-year-old goalkeeper thinks he will earn a living like many other sports personalities world over.
“I have to be honest. Handina kana subject yandinogona kuchikoro [I don’t have a single subject that I’m good at in school]. My academic results have never been good and I got a form one place at this school because of soccer. Football is my passion and I hope to be one of the best goalkeepers in the country,” said the form four student.
Judging by what happened last week at the Hammer & Tongues Peter Lovemore Memorial Under-20 Tournament where he landed the Goalkeeper of the Tournament award, Matava seems to have struck the right chord.
Not only was he distinctive throughout the tournament with a black scrum cap — popularised by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech — and a Blue Bulls rugby jersey, Matava was excellent in goal, conceding only one goal in open play.
Unfortunately, it was the goal that sunk his side in the final against Prince Edward High School.
However, there is a danger that growing up in Mufakose, Matava can fall into bad trappings that the notorious suburb is associated with.
“I believe in God and He will not lead me astray. In His name, I will conquer,” said Matava, who is a member of the Apostolic sect.
His coach at Mufakose High II, Aaron Mushayanyama also pointed out the school’s emphasis on discipline.
“Discipline is of priority at this school and as you can see, these boys are washing their jerseys and there are no reports of anything missing. We always give them examples of brilliant soccer players from this surbub, who at one point were chased from the national team training camp, after allegations of theft were levelled against them. We also point out brilliant players who have come out of this school such as, 2009 Soccer Star of the Year Ramson Zhuwawo,” he said.
“Matava’s weakness is that he sometimes loses concentration after making brilliant saves. There is so much potential in him and his love for the sport is excellent. Even when his fees have not been paid for, he still comes for training sessions.”
Mushayanyama’s sentiments were echoed by another coach, Lazarus Chawota who described Matava as very positive in his approach to the game.
“He is not someone who gets disappointed at being left out of the first team,” said Chawota.
Matava, who was born to Amos and Wadzanai Mafuka on December 3 1995, started playing soccer at the age of 10 at Rusununguko Primary School in Mufakose.
His dexterity between the posts saw him landing a form one place at Mufakose High II, despite attaining 22 points in grade seven.
However, his ambition to join CAPS United juniors in 2006 was nipped in the bud after his parents failed to raise bus fare to and from the training ground.
“My parents support me very much, but sometimes it is tough,” he said.
His mother Wadzanai concurred. “He loves football and is good. We support him whenever we can and if he wants soccer boots we buy. I stay with him and his father works in South Africa, but we have never had problems with him in terms of discipline.”
Matava also said he occasionally had headaches, hence why he wears a scrum cap when on the field.
“I encounter nose bleeding problems because of direct heat from the sun,” said Matava.
He said he is inspired by goalkeepers such as Washington Arubi, Bafana Bafana’s Itumeleng Khune and Spian’s Iker Cassilas.
The Hammer & Tongues Peter Lovemore Memorial Under-20 tournament was named in memory of race horsing commentator Peter Lovemore, who died at the age of 66 in 2010 in South Africa.
Lovemore was also a renowned columnist with The Independent newspaper. He was undoubtedly an iconic figure in both the auction and horse racing industries.
At 21 he became the youngest auctioneer while he was living in the United States. He later on became a world famous bloodstock auctioneer very much in demand in the US, Europe as well as South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The auction industry, and indeed the horse racing fraternity, owes its present high ranking status to the sheer work of this legendary great man whose legacy will live on.
Mabika salutes young goalkeeper
Veteran soccer commentator Charles Mabika could only marvel at the confidence exuded by Matava, who also saved a penalty before firing in the decisive one in his side’s 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Peterhouse in the quarter finals.
“He reminded me of Chelsea goalkeeper Peter Cech, with his lanky built and scrum cap. His command of the penalty box is excellent and it is a pity that he did not win the tournament.
“If nurtured well, we could see him in the Warriors set up in future, and I urge Zifa to work with the National Association of Secondary School Heads and National Association of Primary School Heads. I deal with them often and their love for the game is exceptional,” said Mabika.