HARARE – "I have to pinch myself sometimes,” admits Elisha Muroiwa, and when you listen to the story of his improbable, miraculous rise from Division One to national team in the blink of an eye then it is not hard to see why.
Just over a year ago, Muroiwa was playing at the now defunct Northern Region Division One side Twalumba FC before he signed for Harare giants Dynamos.
“Thinking where I was playing not so long ago and where I am today is unbelievable. It is crazy, sometimes I do have to pinch myself if I think of the journey I have travelled,” Muroiwa told the Daily News.
The 27-year-old arrived at the Glamour Boys during the second half of the 2014 season as a direct replacement for Partson Jaure, who was leaving to join the University of Pretoria in South Africa.
But Muroiwa had to wait his turn since Dynamos still had Themba Ndlovu and Augustine Mbara as their leading centre back.
The centre back only made brief cameo appearances before finally making his first start in the toughest of environments in a match against Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium in August.
Muroiwa handled himself well at the heart of the Glamour Boys defence on their way to a 1-0 victory.
From there he has never looked back. Following the departure of Ndlovu to Harare City at the end of the 2014 season, Muroiwa went on to establish a strong partnership with either Mbara or at times Linyama in a 3-5-2 formation last season.
His exploits were quickly noticed by Warriors coach Kalisto Pasuwa who gave him his first national team call-up for the Chan finals in Rwanda at the start of this year.
The tournament, however, has bad memories for Muroiwa as he was injured in the first match against Zambia to end his participation.
“It was one of the most painful episodes in my career thus far. I was hurt,” Muroiwa said.
“There is nothing difficult like watching others playing while you are injured.
“It was my first call-up to the national team and I could not participate in the tournament. But in a way it strengthened me because I told myself to work even harder.”
Muroiwa quickly put the injury behind him upon his return to Zimbabwe and was called up for the 2017 Afcon qualifiers against Swaziland in March.
From there on, he went on to become one of the Pasuwa’s trusted defenders as the Warriors sealed their place for the final to be held in Gabon.
While much of the credit has been hipped on such players like Khama Billiat, Knowledge Musona, and Willard Katsande; Muroiwa quietly went about his business with defensive partner Costa Nhamoinesu.
“I only give thanks to the Almighty for taking me thus far,” Muroiwa said.
“Not many people were giving me a chance, especially considering the number of foreign-based players in our team.
“But I worked hard and it feels great to be one of the players who played a part in the team’s qualification for Afcon.”
Muriowa is a smart and reliable defender who rarely allows an attacker to get the better of him.
He is an excellent reader of the game who always seems to be in the right place at the right time.
After accomplishing the quest to help the Warriors qualify for the Afcon finals, Muroiwa now has his sights set on making an impact at the Cosafa Castle Cup which kicks off on Saturday in Namibia.
The DeMbare centre back is among the Zimbabwe squad which left for Windhoek yesterday afternoon.
“We are going there to compete. We have a strong team and we can even go all the way and bring the cup home,” Muroiwa said.
“Of course it will not be easy but we need to fight like true Warriors.”