FOR close to a decade now, Knowledge Musona has been the leading light in our Warriors’ quest for glory on the international football scene.
As captain, and as the main supplier of goals, he has toiled, long and hard, fighting for the cause of his motherland to try and take the Warriors to the next level.
He has superbly led from the front and, just like Peter Ndlovu before him, has always answered our prayers when we really needed him to provide that X-Factor that has made a difference in many games.
Musona has top-scored for the Warriors in the past two AFCON qualifying campaigns, in which the senior national team qualified for the showcase on both occasions, with the Smiling Assassin on target three times to power the country to the 2017 Nations Cup finals in Gabon.
Khama Billiat, the other player who has been the star of the Warriors in the past few years, also scored three goals in that successful campaign.
Only nine other players, throughout the entire continent, scored more goals than the two Zimbabwe international football forwards in that qualifying campaign. During the 2019 AFCON qualifiers, Musona again top-scored for the Warriors with five goals, and was the third best goal-scorer in that campaign, with only two other footballers, Fiston Abdul Razak of Burundi, with six goals, and Nigerian forward, Odion Ighalo, with seven goals, doing better than the Zimbabwean.
Between 2010 and 2014, Musona was the only player who scored for the Warriors, away from home, in either a World Cup/Nations Cup qualifier.
Musona’s four goals on the road was the best performance, by a Warrior, in matches away from home between 2005 and 2014 with Peter Ndlovu in second place on two goals while Benjani Mwaruwari, Cuthbert Malajila, Tinashe Nengomasha and Esrom Nyandoro were on target once.
The Smiling Assassin is also the first Warriors skipper to score a hattrick in an AFCON qualifier after his three goals destroyed Liberia at the National Sports Stadium during the qualifiers for the 2019 Nations Cup finals.
There are many analysts who feel that, when the striker is not firing at his best, as was the case during the 2019 AFCON finals in Egypt where, plagued by injuries and lack of confidence, he was a pale shadow of himself, the Warriors usually also catch a cold and do not play as well as they usually do.
This underlines his importance for the country’s cause, when it comes to our quest for glory on the international football front, and not since Peter Ndlovu, himself, have we had a player who has played with such consistency, in terms of delivering goals for the Warriors, as Musona has done.
However, while the Smiling Assassin has flourished, in the colours of his country, his club career, since his move to Europe, hasn’t taken off as well as many would have expected.
He arrived in Germany, after signing a five-year deal with German Bundesliga side Hoffenheim, in July 2011, in a R20 million deal, amid grand expectations he would explode and use that move as a springboard to join other bigger clubs either in that country or elsewhere in Europe.
For instance, it’s the same formula which Brazilian forward, Firmino, used when he arrived at Hoffenheim, and played alongside Musona, before making his big move to Liverpool, where he has become one of the English giants’ main players and helped them win the UEFA Champions League last year.
While Firmino’s career has exploded, Musona has seen his fortunes, at club level, take a knock and was forced to return to Kaizer Chiefs in South Africa, on loan, before he moved to Belgium, where what appeared to be a big move to Anderlecht has turned into a nightmare.
He spent the last months of the Belgian top-flight league campaign on loan at KAS Eupen and Anderlecht have told him he is not in their plans, for the future, even though he still has two more years left on his contract.
Given that Musona turns 30 next month, this is a crucial period in his football career.
A bad move, right now, might mean that the twilight of his career could fade away badly and, given what he has done for this country in the past decade, this would be a shame.
Therefore, it’s important that Musona takes a step backwards and really consider what is best for him, his family and his international football career because, if he gets it badly in this move, things could quickly slide off the rails.
It’s important that Musona doesn’t rush to make a decision, related to where he will play his football next season, but instead, really take time to consider everything on the table and ensure that the new environment will be best suited for his interests because, he is unlikely to get another big move.
It’s important that the Smiling Assassin also seek guidance, from as wide a cross section of advisors — both here at home and around the world — as possible so that they can help him make the decision which will best suit his interests and secures the future of his family.
“At this point, there is a possibility of anything happening, provided it’s the right deal for him and he’s happy and his family is happy,’’ his South African agent, Mike Makaab, said this week.
“He has a beautiful family and he considers them in everything he does.
“The important thing is, whatever deal we receive, Knowledge has to be the one that is happy with it, both financially and from a family point of view.’’
This gives us a reason to believe the future for Musona might not be gloomy and, if he is happy, and in the right frame of mind, it’s always good news for the Warriors.