By Mukudzei Chingwere and Collin Matiza
Rising Zimbabwean goalkeeper Martin Mapisa took a huge leap towards his dream of becoming a fully-fledged professional footballer in Europe when he joined Spanish lower division outfit Velez CF.
He signed a two-year contract after arriving from Malaga-based side CD Almunecar this week.
The tall 20-year-old goalminder was officially unveiled by the club on Tuesday together with German striker Mathias Comes.
Mapisa has been a sensation since joining CD Almunecar from Aces Youth Soccer Academy of Zimbabwe together with compatriot midfielder Abubakar Moffat.
The Tercera División is the fourth level of the Spanish football league system.
“Vélez Club de Fútbol is a Spanish football team based in Vélez-Málaga, in the autonomous community of Andalusia.
“Founded in 1922, it plays in Tercera División — Group 9, holding home matches at Estadio Vivar Téllez, with a capacity of 3 000,” according to the club’s official website.
However, central midfielder Moffat is likely to remain with his current employers for a further six months with the current transfer window closing today.
AYSA founder and director, Nigel Munyati, confirmed the latest developments.
“Yes that is very true, Mapisa is now with Velez and that is quite a big move for his career, the league is very competitive.
“I wish him the very best and like I have already said this group is destined for greatness in the game.
“Abubakar is still with his club but it is a good club for his development,” said Munyati.
Another promising young Zimbabwean player Panashe Kuzamba has been invited back for further assessment with Spain’s Segunda Division (Second Division) side Malaga.
Kuzamba, who turns 18 in July, is based in Australia and was recommended to Malaga by UK-based Zimbabwean coach Phillip Zulu.
He had trials with Malaga last month and has been invited for further assessment at the former La Liga club after impressing them during his initial attachment there.
“Panashe was at one stage at my academy here in the UK before he was snatched by Marbella City FC academy in Australia who gave him a full-time residence there. And, after impressing at Marbella City, he was invited for trials by Malaga last month.
“They assessed him and they have now lined-up some clubs in the La Liga Under-19 League and Second Division where they want him to play as they prepare to sign him in the next transfer window,” Zulu told The Herald from his base in Leeds, England, yesterday.
He also said another Zimbabwean player Washington Bgoni, a 19-year-old goalkeeper, will soon be heading for trials in Germany.
“Bgoni is currently playing for Francis Marion University (FMU) Patriots in the United States but I’ve organised him to go for trials in Germany and he will be going there soon,” Zulu said.
Mapisa, Moffat and Bgoni are among a number of talented overseas-based players who are eligible to play for the national Under-23 side in the upcoming African Cup of Nations Under-23 and 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers.
The others are Seth Patrick, Sharma Bako, Admiral Muskwe, Joshua Jeche, Martin Zulu, Kundayi Benyu, Nydam Tristan, Arnold Ndiweni, Jonah Reinhard Fabisch (Jnr), Tawanda Mutoti and Andy Rinomhota.
Source : The Herald