Tadious Manyepo – Sports Reporter
IT’S hard not to be seduced by the fighting spirit that makes Hardlife Zvirekwi such an indomitable warrior.
He proved the world wrong, when he rose from his hospital bed, with an amputated arm, to play in the domestic Premiership again.
And, now, he wants to prove wrong those who have been suggesting his days, playing at the top level of local football, are now behind him.
It’s when people doubt him that the man, with a first name which suggests his life was never going to be easy, finds the energy to try and go the extra mile.
Now, the former CAPS United and Warriors defender, says he hasn’t given up hopes of playing in the Premiership again.
He says he doesn’t want the final memory, of his time in the top-flight league, to be the tears he shed at the National Sports Stadium, on the final day of the 2019 season.
Although there were reports he was considering quitting the game, Zvirekwi said that was not true because he believes he still has fire in the belly.
“I haven’t retired yet but I am not attached to any club at the moment,” Zvirekwi said.
“The position hasn’t changed as yet, I still want to play football, probably for a few more seasons.
“While playing the game, I would also want to supplement my coaching badges, as well.
“I haven’t found any suitors, as yet, and no club has approached me.
“I am still very much willing to play the game while I supplement my coaching qualifications.
“I definitely want to push for a few more seasons, I like playing football and I believe I still have what it takes to go for a few more seasons.”
His last match ended in tears after his beloved Green Machine lost the game, and the league title, to FC Platinum, in a shoot-out for glory.
Being the captain of the ship, Zvirekwi wanted to lift the league crown for the second time, in three years.
Makepekepe had won the trophy in 2016, the year Zvirekwi won the Soccer Star of the Year accolade.
But, in March 2018, his life changed, forever, when he was involved in a horrific accident that would led to the amputation of part of his left hand.
And, having gone through emotional torture before undergoing physiotherapy and rehabilitation, he forced his way back into the football trenches, four months later.
But, FC Platinum ensured there would be no happy ending, for Zvirekwi and the Green Machine, as the Zvishavane side won 1-0, in the decisive game, to win the league title.
And, a few months later, he was one of the 13 senior CAPS United players, who were dropped from the squad, by coach Darlington Dodo.
With Covid-19 ensuring there wasn’t any football played, last year, Zvirekwi spent the entire year unattached, and struggling to put food on the table.
Football is back and the Premiership teams have already registered their players for the upcoming cluster competition, scheduled to get underway next month.
He is training at home, alone, while he continues with his search for new employers.
He was one of the Warriors who represented the country at the 2017 AFCON finals in Gabon.
“I would like to retire in a more dignified way. It doesn’t have to be a Covid-19-induced retirement, or anything else,’’ he said.
“Yes, the pandemic hit us hard but life has to go on.
“I am not going to give in to the difficulties I have faced but I want to retire at my own terms and in a more respectable manner.
“Basically, I want to play for more seasons and I can say I am still club-hunting as of now.
“I am training hard and I am in good shape and I believe I still have a lot of gas in my tank to compete at the highest level.”
There were reported interests for Zvirekwi’s signature from a number of clubs, including Harare City and Dynamos.
However, those teams appear to have already settled for some other players.
“I haven’t lost hope. I am a fighter and I know, with God, I would be able to keep on playing.
“I am open for negotiations and, hopefully, I will get a club to play for.
“I have exactly the same feeling that I had when doctors told me that I would play football again despite the amputation.”