He has scored eight goals and made 15 assists in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League this season.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Ngezi Platinum Stars forward Tichaona Mabvura has been directly involved in 23 of the club’s 51 goals this season and he can still add more in the remaining three fixtures.
If the Soccer Star of the Year should come from Ngezi, then the accolade belongs to the former Dynamos player who has been by far the most consistent player in the team.
Little was known of Mabvura, who won four league titles with Dynamos during his five-year stay, in which he saw very little game time.
And since his move to the platinum miners, Mabvura has transformed into a class player who is a contender for the country’s best player this year.
All he ever wanted was to be on the soccer stars calendar.
“One of my goals at the beginning of the year was to be on the Soccer Star of the Year calendar at the end of the season and I hope I have done my best to be noticed,” the 25-year-old dribbling wizard told The Sports Hub last week.
“I don’t think I have reached my potential yet; the best is yet to come so I am going to work extra hard so I can be better. I am currently enjoying my time here at Ngezi and playing good football mainly because I have been given enough game time. It’s easier to keep improving when you are playing more, unlike when you sit on the bench a lot.”
The player, affectionately known as “Candy,” was among the 17 new players signed by the Mhondoro/Ngezi-based side after it was promoted into the Premiership last year and has since become the star of the team.
Last year he helped the ambitious side win the Chibuku Super Cup in their maiden season in the topflight, which earned them a berth in the CAF Confederation Cup.
This year alone, he has started in almost all of the Ngezi matches except when he went to South Africa for trials at Ajax Cape Town early last month.
Personal ambitions aside, Mabvura’s ultimate goal this season is to help Ngezi to a maiden league title as he is keen to land his league medal.
“We agreed as a team that we wanted to win the league so that we can continue playing football in Africa. I am happy that we are still in contention. It was a disappointment the way we crushed out of the CAF Confederations Cup; we thought we could do better. We want to be back playing on the African safari next season and I think the Champions League would be a better challenge,” Mabvura said.
“It is so much fun to be competing for the league title because every game you play puts more pressure on you. But it’s not new to me because I have been in such a situation with DeMbare; I have won the league title four times and a fifth one will be nice.”
Mabvura’s career began in Mutare, his home town, where he turned out for Deportivo La Sakubva as a 10-year-old in the early 2000s and rose through the ranks up to the Under-17 team.
He also had short stints at Mutare United and Buffaloes.
It was at the Youth Games in 2010 that his claim to fame came after he helped Manicaland Province win a gold medal.
Consequently, Mabvura was picked for the national Under-20 team, which won bronze at the Cosafa tournament in Botswana the same year.
Mabvura opened up on some of his fond memories during his time at Dynamos.
“It was Lloyd ‘Father’ Mutasa who brought me to Dynamos in 2011. I had trained with him when I was still in school at Mutare Boys High and that time he was coach for Highway. I spent five years at Dynamos and won four titles,” he said.
“It was difficult at Dynamos because they attract big crowds every week, which means a lot more pressure. I enjoyed my time there although I didn’t play as much as I wanted to. I had to compete with the likes of Tafadzwa Rusike, Russell Madamombe and Denver Mukamba at some point.”
Chances are that Mabvura could be playing in South Africa next season after Ajax Cape Town declared their interest in the player.
The player is currently awaiting communication from the South African side after undergoing trials last month.
“It has always been my dream to play abroad. As a kid, I dreamt of playing in the big leagues in Europe and I haven’t given up on that dream. Hopefully, next year I will have a bigger challenge with bigger rewards so that I can start preparing for life after football,” Mabvura said.
Mabvura is the oldest in a family of four, and his younger brothers Thomas, Tatenda and Takudzwa are already following his footsteps at lower division side Deportivo La Sakubva.