The football season may be suspended, but it’s been a campaign to remember for England-based Zimbabwean teenage sensation Tivonge Rushesha after the defender made his first-team debut and earned a first professional contract with English Championship side Swansea City.
After breaking into the Swansea under-23 squad last season, 17-year-old Rushesha has been a regular feature for the English side’s development side this season – making the right-back spot his own with 12 appearances in Premier League 2 Division 2.
The Zimbabwean-born full-back saw his solid start to the campaign rewarded with a first-team debut in August’s Carabao Cup clash against Cambridge United at the Liberty Stadium.
Rushesha, who has been with the Swans since under-12 level, made history after becoming one of the youngest players ever to represent the club at the tender age of just 17 years and 35 days old.
His remarkable rise was rewarded after being awarded his first professional deal with the club in January which will keep him at Swansea 2022.
The young Zimbabwean has also trained with the Swansea first-team squad on several occasions and, once the season resumes, is understandably hungry for more opportunities.
“I’ve enjoyed playing football, we’ve won lots of games, and I’ve learned a lot. Overall, it’s been a very enjoyable season,” Rushesha told the Swansea City official website.
“When I signed my scholarship, my main goal was to break into the under-23s as early as possible, so to be with them pretty much full-time as a second-year scholar is a good thing to achieve.
“Playing regular football is also really good because that’s what you want to be doing on a full-time basis at the highest level.
“The first-team debut is something you always want to achieve. Now I’ve done that, I must try to get in and around training with them more often.
“Whenever I have, I feel like I’ve stepped up a level because the pace is quicker, and the standard is higher. Now I’ve experienced that, I just want more of it.”
Although Rushesha has featured for Wales at the youth level he can still be available for the Warriors when it comes to his senior national team commitments.
He is the son of a Zimbabwean medical practitioner, Webster Rushesha, who left the country to reside in the United Kingdom, together with his family in 2003 when Tivonge was just a toddler.
The young star was drafted into the Warriors for the 2021 AFCON qualifiers against Zambia and Botswana in October last year but was not able to make the trip to Zimbabwe after ZIFA failed to have passport renewed on time.