Warriors’ midfielder Raphael Kutinyu has no regrets over his decision to trek north and join the Tanzanian top-flight football league a little over a year ago.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Fifteen months on, the 23-year-old star helped newly-promoted Singida United FC to a commendable fifth place finish and a losing finalist accolade in the Tanzania FA Cup.
The former Chicken Inn player was also selected among the 11 best players in the league after completing his first full season in Tanzania.
Kutinyu then capped a fine season with a Cosafa Cup triumph with the Zimbabwe Warriors in South Africa early last month.
In spite of all the attention and rave reviews he has been getting, Kutinyu will be staying another season in east Africa after penning a deal with cash-rich side Azam FC, who were runners-up in the just-ended season.
Azam is home to former Highlanders utility player Bruce Kangwa.
“So far it’s been so good for me in East Africa. I am really enjoying the journey and playing my football there.
It’s a beautiful country with great people and I have no regrets going there,” Kutinyu said in interview with The Sports Hub.
There has been an increase in the number of Zimbabwean players looking up north for greener pastures in recent years, but some have failed to adjust to the conditions.
Former Dynamos defender Elisha Muroiwa and the CAPS United duo of Simbarashe Nhivi and Wisdom Mutasa also joined Singida United, but all failed to last six months.
Young Africans’ Thabani Kamusoko and Donald Ngoma are some of the Zimbabwean players who have managed to establish themselves in Tanzania.
“I think what has helped me to succeed in Tanzania is my determination and love for what I do.
I’m there to do my job, which is playing football and it has been my focus since I arrived,” he said.
Kutinyu is of the view that the Tanzanian league is very strong and very difficult like any other top league in Africa.
“Football is football.
But I don’t believe the league there is weak in any way.
It’s just that their league is not screened on Supersport and they have their own channels as East Africa for their football, but I think their football is very competitive,” Kutinyu said.
A league champion with Chicken Inn in 2015, Kutinyu is looking forward to more success in Tanzanian football next season with new club Azam.
“I think I have done exceptionally well at Singida, reaching the finals of a cup.
I have just signed with Azam now and I am looking forward to enjoying more success in the upcoming season.”
Kutinyu also reflected on Zimbabwe’s historic sixth triumph in the Cosafa Cup where he also played a pivotal role.
“Always feels great to win and even better when you are doing it for the country.
I enjoyed playing with some of the local and international talent.
I think the future of our football is very bright going forward.
“Now my focus is to keep on working hard so that one day I can play in better leagues in Europe, which is my ultimate dream in football,” the playmaker said.
Kutinyu made his top-flight league debut with former premier league side Bantu Rovers in 2014 and then signed for Chicken Inn the following year, winning the championship with the club.