By Terry Madyauta
CAMEROONIAN legend Roger Milla dazed the world when he became the oldest goalscorer at the 1994 World Cup finals against Russia in the US at the age of 42.
The Cameroonian proved that age is just a number by helping the Indomitable Lions compete at the biggest football stage before retiring at 44.
Similarly former Warriors and Orlando Pirates defender Zvenyika Makonese, who made his last appearance for the Warriors at the age of 32 in June 2010 when Zimbabwe hosted Brazil at the National Sports Stadium and eight years later, still feels fit to compete at the highest stage of local football.
Makonese turns 41 on July 7 and has already confirmed his availability for Shabanie Mine this upcoming season.
It seems impossible for the gritty central defender, who at one time attracted the attention of Barclays Premiership side Stoke City and English Championship outfit Wigan Athletic, to don the Warriors jersey again.
But he has signalled his intentions to make his own history albeit on the domestic scene.
“I will be playing 100% for Shabanie this season and at this stage I want to make my own history. If Roger Milla did it, then how can I fail?” said Makonese.
“Age is just a number and at this stage, when most of those I played with have all gone into retirement while some have ventured into different ways of surviving, I still want to play more and bring glory to my community of Zvishavane.
“My prime target is to hang my boots in 2020. This is just about making a mark for myself to achieve what many failed to do. It has always been my passion since childhood and nothing can ever stop me from reaching new levels at this age. And obviously afterwards, I will venture into coaching and continue in football.”
His former mentor Taku Shariwa praised Makonese for his instrumental role in moulding youngsters.
“For me as a coach during the short time I have spent with him, I have developed respect for him as an individual. I look forward to seeing him start his journey as a coach.
“He is in the twilight stage of his career. We are giving him a chance to fulfil his dreams and I believe it is giving back to the community, but we hope he quickly adapts to the transition from being a player into a coach.
“It is hard for us just to let Makonese sink into oblivion and it’s actually a catastrophe for us to do that because he is revered in the small community of Maglas. He will gradually be integrated into the backroom staff,” Shariwa said.
During his prime, Makonese played as a central defender, but has since been converted into a striker at Shabanie Mine, a team he is still contracted to despite spending the second half of last season on the sidelines.
Makonese has also played for South African Premiership side Orlando Pirates, Santos as well as Black Leopards and he brings his vast professional football experience to the Chinda Boys.
He also boasts of being part of the Warriors team that took part at the Africa Cup of Nations finals in 2006.