HARARE – Rodwell Chinyengetere appeared to be heading towards being a statistic of one of the many local players whose promising careers ended prematurely due to injury.
Zimbabwean football is littered with players who never really reached their peak due to career ending injuries; Johannes Ngodzo and Samson Choruwa are the two biggest examples.
Chinyengetere suffered a horrific injury while turning out for Hwange in a league match against Monomotapa in 2012.
The former Chipangano forward was hacked down by an over the top challenge by Monos goalkeeper Artwell Mukandi inside the box at Rufaro Stadium.
He suffered a career-threatening double fracture on his right shin in the incident that occurred on the hour-mark in a match Hwange went on to lose 3-0.
While his teammates went on to finish the match, Chinyengetere was hospitalised at the Avenues Clinic ICU where he went through surgery. Sadly he had just broken into the Warriors setup when disaster struck.
At that point it looked like, the end of the Kadoma-born forward’s career.
However, Chinyengetere made a triumphant return 18 months later when he grabbed a brace in Hwange’s 5-1 win over Buffaloes at the start of the 2014 season.
Fast forward to the 2017 season, Chinyengetere was the unsung hero as he helped FC Platinum clinch their maiden title at the weekend following a 0-2 win over Chapungu.
He got the ball rolling when netted a miraculous first minute goal to ease FC Platinum’s nerves before Ali Sadiki doubled the advantage in the opening five minutes setting the stage for wild celebrations as the Zvishavane-based side became the first team outside Harare or Bulawayo to win the title since independence.
“When I got injured in 2012, I thought that was probably the end of my career. After suffering that nightmarish double fracture I never thought I would ever come back to play football again,” Chinyengetere told the Daily News after collecting his winners’ medal at Ascot Stadium on Saturday.
“The turning point for me was when the doctor came in and started explaining that although the extent of the injury at the point was so bad there was still a glimmer of hope that I would be able to jog on the field again.
“I started believing, I grew in confidence and was restored but I thank God for the miraculous healing. He’s the one who superintended over my recovery and obviously with the support of others who helped me during the time I was croaked, I really appreciate them all.”
Chinyengetere finished the season as FC Platinum’s top goal scorer with nine goals and seven behind Golden Boot winner Dominic Chungwa of CAPS United.
He is not the first be to take the bragging rights though as he paid tribute to his teammates for helping him hit the back of the net regularly.
“Obviously I’m very happy but it wasn’t sorely because of me; we worked as a team and I wouldn’t have done it on my own. I wouldn’t have scored all those goals on my own, we worked as a team. It was an important goal, we wanted them to unsettle them and I think God made everything become a miracle with me scoring in the first minute,” Chinyengetere said.
“We have been waiting for this moment, last year we were beaten in our last game. I think it was just a matter of us working very hard from the start of the season although we had some hiccups here and there…we worked hard and kept ourselves focuses on the championship and hard work made us victors.”
And with the stage set for a date in the African Safari where FC Platinum will be playing in the African Champions League football next season, Chinyengetere is confident with the same determination to succeed they will be able to scale respectable heights and go further than outgoing champions CAPS United did last season.
“It’s a different year to this year but obviously we would like to work hard so that we can surpass where CAPS United reached,” he signed off.