Thursday, July 18, 2024
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Tawanda Chirewa Zimbabwe’s New Rising Star: Could He Become The Next Golden Boy?

As the curtain closed down on Knowledge Musona and Khama Billiat’s international careers, the question has been; who, if anyone, will take their place? Jordan Zemura and Bill Antonio have been serious contenders to be the next up-and-coming ‘Golden Boy’, but the immediate rise of prodigy forward Tawanda Chirewa has many fans believe he could be the heir to the throne.

The 20-year-old Wolvermpton Wanderers rising star, put on an incredible shift against Bafana-Bafana and has been the only positive outcome in the defeat that left the Warriors laying at the bottom of group C of the 2026 World cup qualifiers with two points from four games.

Chirewa showcased every attribute of an attacking midfielder in Warriors’ 3-1 loss to South Africa on Tuesday evening, his second match in Warriors colors after starting against Lesotho. He would cut in from the wide areas into the box, drift wide and sometimes drop deep to assist build-up play. And pop up inside the box to help finish the moves.

Besides scoring the Warriors’ consolation goal , Chirewa was Zimbabwe Warriors’ best player by far.

The Chelmsford born attacking midfielder made 27 out of 29 accurate passes from the 48 touches of the ball he made during the 89 minutes of the game he played, before substituted for Tawanda Maswanhise.

Chirewa created two goal scoring chances and had as much shots on target but denied both times by the woodwork.

The burgeoning young star had the third highest rating of 7,6 out of 10, only Thapelo Morena who scored a brace for Bafana-Bafana and Oswald Appollis, rated higher than him with a rating of 8,8 and 8,9 respectively.

After the game Chirewa had the approval of a lot of fans, even some of Zimbabwe’s ex-footballers believed the team has finally realigned with the cosmos to find it’s super star.

Former Dynamos and Zimbabwe Warriors tricky star Norman Maroto was impressed by Chirewa’s display against Bafana-Bafana.
Ex-Highlanders and Caps United fast-paced winger Gabriel Nyoni joined in to sing Chirewa’s praises after the game against Bafana-Bafana

Zimbabwe Football history constantly had this one player that everyone looked up to when chips are down – the player that always bring hope to the team – a literal and proverbial star. A ‘Golden Boy’.

In the 70s it was George ‘Mastermind’ Shaya, the former Dynamos and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) forward was the first Zimbabwean Golden boy as he was considered one of the finest players, as well as the best ever striker to come out of Zimbabwe.

George ‘Mastermind’ Shaya was Zimbabwe’s most prolific striker and the first ‘Golden Boy’ to lead the national team.

Shaya was named Rhodesian soccer star of the year a record five times including the inaugural award in 1969. He led the Rhodesia national team in the 1970 FIFA world cup qualifiers. Despite his talismatic efforts, Rhodesia failed to book a spot in the finals.

Shaya was eventually succeeded by Moses ‘Razorman’ Chunga who took over the reigns in the 1980s. The skillful midfielder who started at Dynamos and went on to play in Belgium for Eendracht Aalst is regarded as one of Zimbabwe’s greatest midfielders of all time.

Chunga was a natural ball player and a playmaker with amazing dribbling skills that could cut open any defence, hence the nickname ‘Razorman’. He scored a record 46 goals in one season in the Zimbabwe premier league

Moses ‘Razorman’ Chunga dribbling past his markers for Eendracht Aalst in Belgium league

He was also a deadball specialist that could score direct from a corner kick.

Though his reputation with the national team was not that good, due to his stubborn character, Bambo is considered to be one of the legends of the game

At the tail end of Moses Chunga’s reign entered Peter ‘Nsukuzonke’ Ndlovu – one of the most outstanding footballers to ever emerge from the country.

Peter Ndlovu is the most decorated Zimbabwe Warriors player so far with more than 100 caps for the national team and scoring nearly 40 goals in the process

Ndlovu broke into the Highlanders first team at the age of 16 and became the first African footballer to feature in England’s top league when he made his EPL debut on August 19 1992 for Coventry City as a teenager. He went on to make 176 appearances for the club and scoring 43 goals for them.

He is the most decorated player from all the golden boys that have come out of the country having capped more than 100 times for Zimbabwe Warriors and scoring  38 goals in the process.

He earned the name ‘Nsukuzonke’ for scoring goals in almost every match he featured for the Warriors.

He helped Zimbabwe to qualify for their maiden Africa Cup of Nations finals in Tunisia 2004.

Ndlovu then passed on the golden boy crown to Knowledge Musona, who rose at a later stage after Nsukuzonke’s retirement.

The emergency of Musona was a refreshing sight to Zimbabwe football fans who always look up to the next magical player to inspire the team.

Knowledge Musona was one of the finest players to emerge from Zimbabwe. He retired in 2022 after more than 10years with the squad.

Musona who never played in the domestic league moved to South Africa to join Kaizer Chiefs in 2009 and was an instant hit before he was signed by Hoffenheim in Germany.

Musona played for Zimbabwe at the 2017 African Cup of Nations, the 2019 African Cup of Nations, and the 2021 African Cup of Nations.

He played 52 matches for the Warriors in total and scored 25 goals in the process leading Zimbabwe to three AFCON finals, 2017, 2019 and 2021.

Before the retirement of Musona, the attention was shifted to his close friend and teammate at Aces Academy Khama Billiat.

Khama Billiat is considered to be one of the most fluid player of his generation. He captained the Warriors in 2022 before he retired in 2023.

Billiat brought in swagger to the team both on and off the pitch. Whatever he lacked in physicality, he managed to make up for with his raw talent and fluid skills.

After just three months with Caps United in the domestic league, Khama Billiat was scooped by Ajax Cape Town in South Africa where he football grew from strength to strength until his ripe at Mamelodi Sundowns.

The pint-sized attacking midfielder has represented Zimbabwe on various youth levels. Since then he has represented the national team on several occasions.

He made his senior Warriors debut in 2012 and became captain of the squad in 2021, leading Zimbabwe in the 2022 FIFA world cup qualifiers.

Billiat scored 17 goals for the Warriors in 43 appearances before he decided to hang his boots in 2023.

Ever since his retirement, the next ‘Golden Boy’ in line  has not yet been crowned.

Many young stars are coming up to make a claim for the Golden Boy tag, Jordan Zemura, Bill Antonio, Tawanda Maswanhise, Walter Musona just to name a few are some of the up and coming stars to contest for the crown, but what Chirewa has done in his first two games for the Warriors has convinced a lot that he might be the one to take over from Khama Billiat.

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