MURAPE MURAPE is back in the headlines and, for him, it’s time to reveal some of his best-kept secrets.
The Dynamos legend was last week named the coach of the Betis Academy.
And, he has been looking back at a career in which he won the Soccer Star of the Year and led the country’s biggest football club.
“When I look back at my career, I laugh aloud or even cry quietly,” he said.
“The truth is I don’t even know how I managed to play for those years with so much pain.
“I had to feed my family, though, and look after my mother, so I had to find a way to play.”
It all started when a 17-year-old Murape, picked what could have been a career-ending injury during a training session in 1998.
Subsequent examinations revealed he had torn some knee ligaments and he needed surgery.
“The operation went badly and the surgeon failed to properly position the knee after the procedure,” he said.
“That is how I ended up with this slightly bended knee.
“I have been through hell, struggling to stand the pain, but I had to play football out of passion.”
It is that limp which resulted in him being denied an opportunity to prove his mettle at South African teams, Ajax Cape Town and Moroka Swallows, in 1999.
“There was no way, before even walking onto the pitch, some officials had already dismissed me,” he said.
“Some were questioning the logic of me being given an opportunity to be on trials.
“They questioned how l was going to play football with a ‘disability’.”
He considered quitting the game and went to live in England.
Somehow, he got an invite to train with Brentford, who were then playing in the Conference League.
“I had gone to England on a visitors’ visa. That was an impediment and I ended up doing menial jobs in that country between 2001 and 2004,” he said.
Fed up with living from hand-to-mouth in England, Murape decided to come back to football.
That is how he rejoined Dynamos, in the second half of the 2004 season.
He would help DeMbare win the 2007 title, their first in a decade, and he also played a key role in their fairy-tale run to the semi-final of the CAF Champions league in 2008.
The Glamour Boys also won four straight titles between 2001 and 2014.
Then, he decided the time to retire had come.
“It was a newspaper headline,” he said. “I was busy preparing to come back from the off season when I came across a headline dubbed ‘Dynamos is now an old people’s home.’
“My name was in that article and I just thought, well, let me hang up my boots.
“From then, I have been coaching, including being an assistant to Lloyd Mutasa and Lloyd Chigowe at Dynamos, on separate occasions.
“I have also led Dynamos Under-18 to a league title in the Harare provincial league.
“I have also been helping out at Heritage School.”
Murape has a chance to make it big, after he was named the Real Betis Academy Zimbabwe coach this week.