BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
HE might not be sure if he will ever kick a ball again, but injured Zimbabwean footballer Gabriel Nyoni already has a backup plan in case his football ambitions are cut short.
The 29-year-old midfielder sustained a Lisfranc foot injury while in action for South African second tier side Cape Umoya in a league match against Richards Bay FC last season.
He has been sidelined ever since with hopes of a comeback fading with each passing day.
A Lisfranc injury or fracture, which is named after the French doctor who first identified it while treating patients during the Napoleonic Wars in the 1800s, is a type of injury to the bones or ligaments in the middle part of your foot, also known as the tarsometatarsal joint.
Two wires and three screws were inserted in his foot and he was told that there was a possibility he would never play professional football again after undergoing two surgeries.
Nyoni, though, has kept hope that he will play again. But in case his dream to revive his football career doesn’t come to fruition; the former Highlanders and CAPS United speedy winger has a fallback plan.
The entrepreneurial Nyoni has been finding solace in several business projects as he pursues his other dream of becoming a fulltime businessman.
Recently Nyoni opened a deep cleaning company in Cape Town, the latest of several business ventures he has tried in recent years in a bid to give himself a soft landing in preparation for life after football.
“I’m still very much hopeful that I will play football again, but while I’m not playing I have had to pursue other things to keep me busy,” Nyoni said in an interview with The Sports Hub from his Cape Town base this week.
“I recently started a deep cleaning company, so that has been keeping me busy and I continue trying to find innovative ways to make ends meet. I have a dream of growing it to become the biggest cleaning company in Southern Africa. We are currently operating in Cape Town.”
The deep cleaning company is one of the several projects that the ambitious and confident Nyoni has embarked on in recent years.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours degree in Marketing, he ventured into entrepreneurship in 2016 when he launched his brand ‘GN27’ which specialises in perfumes and clothing.
Nyoni has also been promoting and expanding his perfume brand while he also harbours plans to open a transport and logistics company in the near future.
“What motivated me to start my own company as well as coming up with different projects is the fact that I’ve always wanted to start my own business, but was really busy with football. So once I was no longer playing I was like okay let me do other things that I enjoy and I have always wanted to venture into business. The perfume business is going very well and also when it comes to this deep cleaning business I have just started it now, but we have been making some strides and if by the end of next year we are worth at least a million rand I would be very happy,” he said.
Despite his recent business ventures, Nyoni has also been working hard to fully recover from his career threatening injury.
There were fears that his former employers Cape Umoya would leave him in the cold after the club’s owners sold the franchise to fellow GladAfrica Championship side Venda Football Academy.
Nyoni, however, allayed such fears.
“My former employers have been really good to me; they are currently talking to the insurance company, which is supposed to be paying for my rehabilitation and other things,” he revealed.
“They are really taking care of me pretty well so I’m just waiting for the insurance to start paying for rehab and everything and their doctors will do an assessment in February to see if I will be able to play again or not and then from there it’s a whole new story whether I will play football again or not.”
Nyoni said he was pleased with the progress he has made towards a possible full recovery since the horror injury in February.
“If you look at where I was six months ago, there has been a lot of improvement and thanks to the almighty the injury has been getting better each and every week,” he said.