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Muduhwa on the rise

AT JUST 24, wily Highlanders defender Peter Muduhwa has already been head-butted twice in the top flight league in two consecutive seasons.

BY FORTUNE MBELE

One cannot help but reckon that he will be head-butted again a few more times before he calls time on his career considering his uncanny method of provoking and frustrating high-profile players in big matches.

What can never be questioned though is his obvious talent and ability as a defender. The fact that he was voted among the 11 best players last season is clear testimony that he is an immensely gifted player with a bright future ahead of him.

He is quick, skillful, confident on the ball as well as aggressive and when push comes to shove, Muduhwa is also smart enough to temper with the emotions of his opponents.

Former CAPS United forward Leonard Tsipa and Dynamos’ Cameroonian striker Christian Epoupa have both fallen victim to his antagonistic tendencies and duly earned themselves red cards.

Muduhwa was caught in the eye of the storm last year at Barbourfields Stadium when he was head-butted by former CAPS United veteran striker Leonard Tsipa.

Tsipa was subsequently shown the red-card and Highlanders won that match 1-0.

The former CAPS United striker later claimed Muduhwa had insulted him but the defender denied it.

In September, the gritty defender was in the thick of things once again. he was head-butted by Epoupa, and the Dembare striker was given his marching orders by referee Arnold Ncube at Rufaro Stadium.

While Tsipa went on the become the top scorer last season, the red card Epoupa received for head-butting Muduhwa cost him the golden boot as he has only managed one goal in seven matches since he returned from suspension before this weekend’s round of fixtures.

Muduhwa’s controversies, however, have done nothing to stall his rapid rise in local football and two weeks ago he was included in the Warriors squad for the two international friendly matches against Lesotho and Namibia.

While Muduhwa last week turned down an interview request from The Sports Hub, his coach, Dutchman Erol Akbay, expressed his pride at the player’s success after converting him from a midfielder to a defender.

When Muduhwa joined Highlanders in 2015 under the club’s former coach Bongani Mafu, he was known mainly as a midfielder but went on to take over from former club captain Felix Chidungwe as the team’s pillar of defence.

He commanded the first team jersey as a central defender under Akbay last year and the Dutchman, who took charge of Highlanders in his last game against CAPS United yesterday, says the skillful defender is one player that has excited him the most in the two years he has been with the Bulawayo giants.

“You see, Peter is now one of the national team players as a defender but he is actually a midfielder. But I put him in defence and naturally I’m very proud to see him doing well,” Akbay said.

“He is a strong, big guy and when he fights for the ball with an opponent in a one-on-one situation; no one can take the ball away from him. That is a special quality and that’s why the [interim] national team coach [Wilson Mutekede] has said he is good,” Akbay said.

The Highlanders mentor said he was pleased with Muduhwa’s ability to play according to instruction and execute the team’s game plan even though it has in the past got him into trouble with opposition strikers.

“He is learning every day. He is one player who knows that if he listens to the coach, he will get better every week. I gave him some special tips especially in big games like Dynamos matches on how to handle strikers and he did exactly what I wanted him to do. It worked because you didn’t see anything coming out from the opponents’ strikers. What more can you want from a player,” Akbay said.

Muduhwa signed a two-year contract with Highlanders in 2015 from Division Two side Ajax Hotspurs, but coach Mafu felt he lacked experience and was loaned to recently-promoted Bulawayo Chiefs, who were plying their trade in the Southern Region Division One.

He extended his stay at the Bulawayo giants by another two years, last year and his current contract is due to expire in December 2018.

A product of Pumula High School, he has also played for Boot Laces and MK Lions in the lower leagues.

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