BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
FORMER Harare City and CAPS United winger Ishmael Wadi has set sights on helping his GladAfrica Championship side JDR Stars gain promotion to the South Africa topflight league this season.
Wadi trekked down to South Africa in July to join the lower division club after enduring a year-and-half without competitive football in Zimbabwe due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
JDR Stars are also home to Zimbabwean footballers Temptation Chiwunga and teenage star Tapuwa Mandinyenya.
But it is the 28-year-old Warriors trialist set to be the main man at the Pretoria-based side, which currently sit fourth in the league with nine points after five matches having already scored two goals.
“It has been a great experience and I believe I have taken major lessons and have been able to adjust,” Wadi said in an interview with Standardsport on Friday.
“My target is to be the best this season.
“I also want to be the top-goal scorer in my team as well as in the league.
“I want to make sure my team gets promoted to PSL next season.”
Wadi was one of the best performers for CAPS United in the Chibuku Cup when top-flight football temporarily came back scoring four goals in six matches for Makepekepe.
And the speedy winger had set himself the target of winning the Chibuku Cup golden boot.
“It’s sad that I couldn’t achieve my targets with CAPS United, especially in the Chibuku Cup where I was playing very well before the Covid-19 lockdown disrupted the competition,” Wadi said.
“I hope I can be able to achieve my target at this club.”
Many people are of the opinion that Wadi, who has been one of the best local players in the country for the past few years, belongs in the South African premiership.
It was a surprise when he signed a two-year deal with the championship side after a successful two-week trial
His exclusion in the Warriors squad for Cosafa in June sparked debate as football fans felt it would have been a platform for him to be noticed by top-flight league sides.
Wadi has been nomadic in his career moving from Monomotapa, Black Mambas, Bulawayo Chiefs, FC Platinum, Harare City and lately Caps United.
The speedy winger’s football career began at Marlborough Primary School before he moved to Mt Pleasant High School where he became passionate about sport.
It was his love for sport that inspired Wadi to choose football.
“I have always loved having the football at my feet since I was a young boy so there was no other career for me,” he said.
“And if I was not a footballer, I would still have been an athlete because I loved sports in general.
“I think I would have been a rugby player because I was good at it.”
Wadi was part of the Warriors World Cup squad that drew with South Africa and lost to Ethiopia, costing coach Zdravko Logarusic and his technical team the job.
“It was an amazing feeling and to wear that Zimbabwe jersey is an experience that l will never forget,” he said.
Now approaching the 30s Wadi’s focus is to make sure that he makes a comfortable life for his family before he retires apart from getting recognition at the highest level.
“Before I retire I just want to make sure that my family is set for a good life,” he said.
“And of course like every other player I want to be recognised by my country and outside as one of the best players to play football.”