Warriors goalkeeper George Chigova has been Zimbabwean football’s man of the moment after singlehandedly pushing the Warriors to a second successive final appearance at the Cosafa competition in Polokwane, South Africa.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
Last Sunday, the former Dynamos shotstopper saved three penalties in Zimbabwe’s quarterfinal victory over Botswana before he kept out another two in a semifinal shootout win against Lesotho.
“As we currently debate which candidate has the safest hands for Zimbabwe, we can all agree the answer is without a doubt George Chigova, the Warriors heroic goalkeeper who has saved fivepenalties this week to get the Warriors into the Cosafa Cup final!”, President Emmerson Mnangagwa took to twitter to hail the Warriors captain.
Flamboyant Wicknell Chivayo would not miss an opportunity to show off, generously depositing R100 000 into the goalkeeper bank account for his heroics.
All in a week’s work for the Mvuma-born and bred Chigova.
While he is over the moon about his contribution, the big goalkeeper has one big wish.
“I want to play at the highest level in Europe so I will pray to God to achieve that. I hope my performances at Cosafa will go a long way in opening such doors for me. If it doesn’t happen now I am just going to keep working hard so that I realise this dream,” he told The Sports Hub.
It’s been a long road for the 27-year-old goalkeeper whose first introduction to the sport started at How Mine Primary School before moving on to Mzilikazi Secondary School, where he did Form 1 up to Form3.
He then moved to Harare where he completed his studies at Lord Malvern Secondary School in Harare before joining the renowned Aces Youth Academy as a 15-year-old.
Chigova had a two-year stint at former Premiership side Gunners between 2010 to 2012 before making the big move to Harare giants Dynamos.
Towering at 1,95m tall, Chigova has carved a reputation for himself as a penalty stopper this year, a quality he has not always had in his career although he saved a penalty on his Dynamos debut against Highlanders in 2012.
Chigova reckons playing in familiar surroundings in Polokwane where he plays his club football at Polokwane City may have given that extra nudge to perform better.
“It was a huge confidence boost for me that the Cosafa tournament is being held in Polokwane. Polokwane is home away from home for me since I am based here and I am quite popular,” he said.
However, Chigova who is on cloud nine due to his performances in national colours believes that penalties have much luck involved than anything else.
“It feels good to contribute to the success of the national team, so I’m happy I managed to do that. I hope we can finish the job in the finals and take the Cup home on Saturday (yesterday). But penalties are a just lottery and as a goalkeeper you just try your best to save. So lucky was on my side this week and I am happy with it. I think it’s also all about mind games and I managed to win that battle of the minds a lot this week,” he said.
It has been a long road for Chigova to be where he is now having also played for Gunners in Zimbabwe before he was snatched by Super Sport United where he failed to earn a spot in the first team.
Chigova then joined the Limpopo side Polokwane City in July 2015 where he has gone on establish himself as the first choice goalkeeper.