HomeSportMadhanhanga relishing CAF Champions League dance

Madhanhanga relishing CAF Champions League dance

FC PLATINUM midfield workhorse Farai Edwin Madhanhanga might be one of the most underrated players in the domestic premiership but his stock has been rising fast on the continent following some solid performances for the platinum miners in their ongoing CAF Champions League campaign.

BY TERRY MADYAUTA

Farai Madhanhanga is so versatile he is effective in any position

Popularly known as “Dhigira”, among his peers due to his versatility and consistency since his formative years at Mbare’s Matapi flats where he grew up, Madhanhanga has been at his disruptive best for the Zimbabwean football champions carrying on from his memorable season on the local front.

In Madhanhanga, FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has found a vital cog in his midfield as he seeks to navigate the platinum miners’ debut campaign against Africa’s top clubs.

While most of his teammates have either been rested or rotated in some of the matches, Madhanhanga has been a constant feature in the FC Platinum engine room.

The only concern for FC Platinum will be how to replace him amid reports that a number of South African clubs have made inquiries about his availability.

“I am grateful because the coaches have a lot faith in me and my performance rests in their mentorship and encouragement on and off the field of play. This has certainly be an experience to remember for us,” Madhanhanga told The Sports Hub in an interview.

“We have learned a lot from the games we have played and they have prepared everyone for the bigger challenges ahead of us. I think everyone is ready to do better for the club.

“It takes hard work to achieve at a bigger stage. In the domestic league we were marshalled to become the best team in the country and it’s the same spirit that we want to continue with in the Champions League,” Madhanhanga said.

Not many people gave Madhanhanga a chance when he was swapped for highly-rated Ishmael Wadi by Harare City last season.

The 23-year-old midfielder, however, grabbed the opportunity with both hands, earning himself admirers in the mining town of Zvishavane following his immense contribution in FC Platinum’s title defence.

The Soccer Star of the Year finalist has carried the form into FC Platinum’s Champions League campaign scoring the first goal of their current campaign in the first leg of the preliminary round against CNaPS in Madagascar.

He also provided an assist to Rodwell Chinyengetere in the return leg as the miners sneaked through to the first round past CNaPS.

Madhanhanga attributes his assuredness and confidence to the previous experience he gained with Harare City during their continental football excursions in 2016.

“I have played in the Confederation Cup before with Harare City and these competitions are similar, so this is not the first time.

“Last year, I did not play in the Champions League, but this time I am doing the best I can and I am ready to help the team go further in this competition.”

Sprouting Academy director Calvin Nyazema, who was a key part in Madhanhanga’s development, described him as a versatile player who works hard on his game.

“He got that nickname Dhigira because he could play in any position. He is comfortable as a defender, midfielder and upfront.

He added: “I first saw him playing in Matapi, he was just 14 then but he started playing with us at the age of 15, so we took him to our academy that plays in the Harare Province Division two.

“He has always been a natural workaholic and robust attacking midfielder with a lot of power. He played in Division 2 from Form 3 and in that year we took him to Monomotapa where he hardly played a game.

“Knowing the potential he had, we recalled him to the academy, then after a year we took him again to Flame Lily and with God’s grace the boy earned a call- up into the Zimbabwe Under-23 team and was one of the outstanding players. He also helped Flame Lily gain promotion into the Premier Soccer League,” said Nyazema.

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