By Tadious Manyepo
TOP New Zealand and South African rugby teams are reportedly jostling for the signature of Old Georgians teenage sensation Neil Mawere who has just capped a flying debut top-flight season by winning the Player of the Year Award at the Grant Mitchel-coached side.
The 19-year-old flanker and hooker had a terrific season for Old Georgians who finished the 2018 marathon as runners-up to Harare Sports Club.
Too good was the former Lomagundi captain that he was voted for the club’s top accolade ahead of veterans Fortune Chipendu, Shingirai Katsvara, Ngoni Chibuwe and David Makanda.
Yet Mawere only found the chance to showcase his prowess when the bulk of the team was on national duty with the Sables for the Africa Gold Cup.
He was subsequently promoted to the senior team on the recommendation of the team’s Under-21 coach Golden Pangeti.
After the promotion, the speedy Mawere never looked back and rose to be the most-sought-after player in the local league.
At the moment Mawere, whose only national team call-up came when being selected for the Zimbabwe “A” side which lost a Test match to Zambia in June, is being pursued by a number of clubs in South Africa and New Zealand. Although he was last year named in the Zimbabwean Craven Week team, Mawere couldn’t make the trip to South Africa as he suffered an injury while preparing for the tournament.
The Under-21 league is commencing late January but Mawere will most likely be out of the Old Georgians squad as the foreign clubs are closing in on him. A French Academy side Vannes is also understood to be chasing for Mawere’s signature.
But he is not rushing to accept offers as he believes he still has a lot of learning to do in the domestic league.
“I am happy with the recognition I received in my debut season at Old Georgians. In a way, I was actually surprised, I was shocked to win the Player of the Year award ahead of the seasoned players at our team. I am very happy, the award serves as an inspiration for me to continue aiming high,” said Mawere.
“Of course I know there are a lot of clubs outside the country who are interested in taking me aboard but I have known the fundamentals of development. I know development is systematic. I should fine-tune my skills at Old Georgians but if something concrete comes then it’s everyone’s dream to take his career to a higher level. “At the moment I am concentrating on improving my play. I am being helped by George Sawezy. My parents are also supportive and I should do well in rugby. I’m just waiting to see what comes on the table.”
Mawere credits his achievement to senior players like Takudzwa Kumadiro as well as the technical bench at his club Old Georgians.
Mawere is son to Dynamos Football Club vice-chairperson Ester Mawere.
Also winning accolades at the club’s awards ceremony was Daniel Capsopoulos who went home with the 7s Player of the Year award with Tendai Dhliwayo grabbing the Best Under-21 Player’s prize while Megan Cormie was the Ladies Player of the Year winner.
Source : The Herald