HARARE – When a double fracture injury on his shin in 2012 almost ended his career, FC Platinum star Rodwell Chinyengetere would never have imagined returning to the field and clinching the Soccer Star of the Year accolade.
But as fate would have it, he did and he is now basking in the glory of his exploits.
Chinyengetere was voted the Soccer Star of the Year while his teammate at FC Platinum defender Kelvin Moyo was the first runner-up while Dynamos’ Ocean Mushure was voted the third best player on the night.
“It’s a huge achievement for me. I feel very happy to be amongst the elite club in the land. It’s not an easy feat and I am really grateful to be recognised as the best player in the country. It means a lot to me,” Chinyengetere said.
“It was one of my best seasons in my career. We worked hard and went on to win the championship.
“It was a tough year for us but we encouraged each other and kept on pushing until the end and we were duly rewarded.
“Of course I am happy but it was not about me alone. We worked as a team and I wouldn’t have got this far without the help of my teammates.
“I wouldn’t have done anything on my own.”
It was a fitting achievement for Chinyengetere whose footballing future once appeared bleak after suffering that horrific injury in a league match against the now-defunct Monomotapa five years ago.
The 29-year-old spent one-and-a-half years on the sidelines but faith and determination saw him making a surprise comeback on April 6, 2014. Chinyengetere quickly put that episode behind and never looked back.
And since joining FC Platinum, he has been impressive for the platinum miners. This season the former Hwange star played a crucial role in the champions title charge chipping in with some important goals en-route to winning the title.
He finished the season as FC Platinum’s top goal scorer with nine goals and seven behind Golden Boot winner Dominic Chungwa of CAPS United.
“I always had faith that one day I would come back. I had faith and I never stopped believing. I also got moral support from my family and colleagues and it helped a lot but faith was the key thing which kept me going,” Chinyengetere said.
“I never thought of quitting football. I just knew one day I would come back onto the field. I was just pushing myself hard to overcome the injury.”
Chinyengetere feels signing for FC Platinum was a good career move and working with Norman Mapeza has seen him improve his game in many aspects.
“Joining FC Platinum was a huge step in my career. It’s an ambitious team and it also pushed me to work hard to achieve something that I will cherish for the rest of my career,” he said.
“At FC Platinum we have one of the best coaches in the land in Mapeza. He has made everything better and he made me who I am today. I am really grateful to him for showing confidence in me especially when I was just coming from the injury.”
Chinyengetere also had a word of advice to some of the players who have suffered career glitches like he did.
“One needs to stay focussed. Have that faith in any case in any problem you have, anything is possible. God is the one who leads the way,” he said.
Chinyengetere’s focus is now on helping FC Platinum do well in the Caf Champions League.
“I want to keep on working hard. We will be playing in Africa next season and it’s important to stay focussed. I think it will be good if we can reach the group stages of the Champions League,” he said.
“It’s not easy in Africa because we will be facing the best of the best but anything is possible, we just need to believe in ourselves.”