Costa Nhamoinesu back in Poland Costa Nhamoinesu

Eddie Chikamhi
Senior Sports Reporter
COSTA Nhamoinesu says his fighting spirit has enabled his to stay longer in the game after he sealed a fresh move back to Europe at the age of 35 years.

The former Zimbabwe national football team player has returned to Poland, where he began his professional career in Europe more than a decade ago.

He joined TS Podbeskidzie (TSP), a club which was recently relegated from the Polish top-flight, the Ekstraklasa, after finishing bottom of the 16-team league.

The move had Nhamoinesu reflecting on his first time in Europe when he was greeted by snow all over the place and had feelings he would not make it as a footballer, under the conditions.

The former Amazulu and Masvingo United man first arrived in Poland as a 22-year-old in 2007, playing for fifth division amateur side KS Wisla Ustroniaka.

But he rose within a few years to play Polish top-flight football and then the UEFA Champions League with Czech Republic giants, Sparta Prague.

“The first time I arrived here, it was all white (with snow). So the first question I asked my friend was “How are we going to play football?”

“That was the first question I asked. I remember it because we were used to seeing the snow only on television, and I tell you that from this bench we learnt that we had to fight. It wasn’t easy. I had to put 100 percent; it was some kind of school for us.”

The former Warriors defender believes his tough upbringing in the ghetto has helped mould him into a tough player that he has been throughout his career.

“For me, fighting was a way of life, ever since I was a kid. I come back again to the ghetto life, because the ghetto is my foundation.

“It’s my foundation, that’s where I come from (and) there you have to fight for your life, you fight to get food, you fight to get somewhere to sleep. You fight for everything; it becomes your lifestyle.”

The former Masvingo United defender began his European career, in earnest, with Polish fifth division amateur side, KS Wisla Ustroniaka, in 2007.

In July 2008, he joined Zaglebie Lubin on loan, before signing permanently in 2010.

While at Lubin, he became one of the most highly-rated left-backs in the Polish league.

After spending seven years in Poland, with Wisla Ustronianka and Zaglebie Lubin, Nhamoinesu went on to make a record 203 appearances for Czech football giants, Sparta Prague, between 2013 and July 2020.

He won a league championship, in his debut season, and crowned it with the Czech Cup and the Czech Super Cup in 2014.

He also lifted the Czech Cup towards the expiry of his contract. He said he could have moved to bigger clubs in Europe but he turned down the opportunities in search for stability.

“Basically, I believe in stability. When I went to Zaglebie I had opportunities to go some teams but I was thinking, if I spend short time here and short time there, then I wouldn’t be so much stable. So I chose stability and that made my life easier,” said Nhamoinesu.

He was regarded a legend at Sparta Prague where he played more than 200 matches for Sparta.

Nhamhoinesu was hailed as a Sparta Prague legend by legendary ex-Czech Republic captain, Tomas Rosicky. He was also the first African to wear the captain’s armband at Sparta.

The defender moved to the Indian Super League last year following the expiry of his contract with Sparta. He played 16 games for Kerala Blasters and scored two goals.

The Indian deal was terminated last month.

His move back to Poland was helped by his Nigerian friend, Martins Ekwueme, who has played football in Poland for over two decades.

“I was in the middle of looking for a team to play for because I still want to play football, I still want to enjoy football.

“So I was talking to my old time friend Martins Ekwueme who is now playing in the third league. I told him about a possibility of coming to Poland and he was extra excited and he said I will talk with some people around here, that’s how it started.”

TSP will this season be playing in the Fortuna 1 League, which is the second-tier of Polish football. Nhamoinesu is on the twilight of his career and he signed a one-year contract with the club.

The defender has already joined his teammates and featured in a pre-season friendly match against top-flight side, Wisla Kraków, at the weekend. He was a second half substitute in the 1-1 draw.

“I know the ambition of the club is always to play higher. I was talking to the sporting director. Hopefully I can bring in some experience and try to help the club to achieve its ambitions,” said Nhamoinesu.

TSP are looking to bounce back into the Polish top-flight and are excited to have Nhamoinesu in their books.

“From Zimbabwe, through the Vistula, Lubin and Praga to Bielsko-Biasla. From a boy from the ghetto, to an experienced fighter Costa Nhamoinesu, welcome to TSP,” the club said on Twitter.

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