Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
PROBABLY the sizeable crowd at the National Sports Stadium yesterday never cared who he was when introduced to replace a slackening Never Tigere midway through the second stanza of this CHAN football qualifier against Lesotho until he conjured up pure magic.
The Warriors won the match 3-1 ahead of the second leg in Maseru next month.
Black Rhinos midfielder Wellington Taderera, one of the best performers in the league this season, must have been jittery coming off the bench for his first appearance at any level of the national team.
That it was a high-stakes first leg tie of the final round of the CHAN qualifier against a Lesotho side who eliminated South Africa in the last round must have send worried the Shabanie man.
But the 24-year old went on to write one of the most intriguing tales by a national team debutant with his well-worked out goal briefly giving the hosts a three-goal advantage until captain Partson Jaure’s blunder gifted Lesotho an away goal.
“I would like to thank the Warriors technical team for the faith they put in me. This is my first game in the national team and to have come from the bench and score is something incredible,” said Taderera.
Yet, the Chipembere star has always been ignored by national team coaches on previous occasions.
Taderera, one of the reasons why Black Rhinos are in the championship mix, may obviously be one of the best players in the league this season but for him to dazzle on his international debut is the kind of stuff that helps lay a firm foundation for a great future.
Receiving the ball in the Warriors half, Taderera played a one-two with Ian Nekati before picking up Prince Dube who had his back on the goal.
Under pressure, Dube laid it back for him and his voluminous drive gave the Lesotho goalkeeper no chance at all.
“I am happy for the win. To be called into the national team alone was good for me.
But then to then make it into the final squad and be thrown into the fray when the team was looking for a third goal was even more satisfying.”
He bemoaned the goal they conceded in the final moments of play but remains positive the Warriors will come out tops and secure the CHAN spot.
“I hope we will finish the job in Lesotho next month. It was a very tough match here. They were compact and the fact that they managed to score an away goal means that it is still game on.”
The media-shy midfielder, whom Black Rhinos coach Herbert Maruwa rates amongst the best 11 players in the history of the military team, said although he played well, he still has a lot to learn going forward.
“They now believe they will overturn the deficit. So we must be at our best in the next game.
“But, I am happy for my performance. I still have a lot of work to do going forward. I was jittery at the beginning but improved with a lot more touches.
“It is a dream to play for the national team and to have capped it with a goal is magnificent. I want to give credit to the technical bench and the team.
“I normally don’t want to say a lot of things, I just let my work do that for me.”