BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
MARSHALL Munetsi might have come short in his bid to help the Warriors salvage their disastrous World Cup qualification campaign last week, but the hardworking midfielder continues to scale dizzy heights in the French Ligue 1.
Statistics released by the French Ligue 1 last Thursday reveal that the Zimbabwe international midfielder tops the list for the player, who has covered the most distance this season.
Munetsi, who is renowned for his versatility, incredible fitness and work rate, has so far covered a whopping 103,9km in the first nine matches of the campaign at an average of 11,5km per game.
He sits at the summit of Ligue 1’s most hardworking players ahead of Stade de Rennais’ French midfielder Flavien Tait, who has covered 103,4km while Ivory Coast international Seko Fofana of RC Lens is third with 100,6km.
The 25-year-old indefatigable box-to-box midfielder has been enjoying an incredible season at Stade de Reims.
The main highlight of his season thus far came last month when he kept a tight leash on PSG’s Argentine superstar Lionel Messi when he made his Ligue 1 debut after his blockbuster move from Barcelona.
While he has excelled with his defensive abilities and positional discipline in the middle of the park, Munetsi has also shown that he isn’t just about running around though and has showcased his technical qualities this season in a new box to box role.
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At present, the former Orlando Pirates star has one goal in nine appearances.
Stade de Reims offered a glowing tribute to Munetsi on Thursday in the wake of his latest recognition. The Zimbabwean is the second Reims player to top the category for the most distance covered after, Xavier Chavalerin, who is now at Troyes.
“During the 2018-2019 season, Xavier Chavalerin was named player with the highest volume of play in the league. The Stade de Reims midfielder averaged 12km per game. This season, after nine matches, it is Marshall Munetsi, who has covered the most kilometres in Ligue 1 Uber Eats,” Stade de Reims said in a statement on their website.
“The Zimbabwe international has covered 103.9 km, an average of 11.5 km per game. His record of distance covered in a match this season was 13.72 km during the match between Stade Rennais and Stade de Reims on September 12 ( 0-2 victory ).”
The good statistics are a further boost on Munetsi’s status as he edges closer to a breakthrough move to the bigger leagues in Europe as his stock continues to side.
His impressive displays last term didn’t go unnoticed and there were reports that a number of teams including former Premier League clubs Sheffield United and West Bromwich Albion inquired about his services.
Other reports also suggested that he was the subject of a deadline day approach from Wayne Rooney-managed Derby County in January last year.
After the moves failed to materialise last season Munetsi is expected to move to a bigger league this year and the English Premier League remains his preferred destination.
Despite his incredible rise in France, Zimbabwe has so far sadly failed to utilise Munetsi’s qualities.
In his last encounter with the Warriors, Munetsi was deployed as a central defender as the team succumbed to a 3-1 loss in Ghana in a 2022 World Cup qualifier.
After picking up an injury during the match played at the Cape Coast Stadium, Munetsi missed Tuesday’s reverse fixture which the Warriors lost 1-0 at the National Sports Stadium to bow out of contention for a place at the 2022 World Cup.