By Anotidaishe Chivhenge
The crowded high-density suburb of Mtapa in Gweru is undisputedly the home of some of the top-notch -talented footballers the country has ever produced.
The shabby suburb will forever be remembered for producing Soccer Star of the year award winner in 2001, Maxwell “Marhino” Dube, Ashton “Musharukwa” Mhlanga a legend who has it that he never missed a penalty in his long career spanning over 15- years and during that time Mtapa produced one of the fastest players to play in the National team Bheki “Pisa Pisa” Mlotshwa who had Gweru United football Club be nicknamed “Pisa Pisa United.”
The aforementioned footballers are the products of Mtapa’s Young stars Academy, now the academy has given the nation another wonder kid, Gareth “Gaga” Zingwe who has played for the under- 17 national team and is pushing his career at Sheasham Football Club.
The 18-year-old Zingwe was born at Mtapa clinic in 2003 and is the firstborn in the family of 3 brothers. The very skilful left fullback started his journey when he was ten years old at the locally based Young Stars Football Academy where he discovered his talent as he gained popularity throughout the city.
His magical left foot and defending instincts have made Tanaka achieve some milestones in his blooming carrier as he made it to the under 17 National team in 2018 where he was one of the 2 Midlands young stars who went to the national team during this time. In an interview with The Sun, Tanaka said he is honoured to be part of a dream team that might lead Sheasham to their first CRSL title and into the Premier Soccer League (PSL).
“I am happy that I play for a big team now, it has always been my dream but we dream big always, PSL football next season will be a dream come true. I wish to go as further as l can and also play top-flight football at some point go abroad and play for big teams,” he said.
The 18-year-old is determined to push himself as he wishes for better living standards for his family as he trains so hard every day.
“I want to gain confidence and learn all the basics that might help me excel with my career as l want to give my family who supported me from the beginning a better life and through football, l pray l will,” he added.
Tanaka has never abandoned the young stars academy as he is humble enough to go and help the younger players by sharing his experience with them boosting the mental health of the juveniles.
“Mtapa is my home and it is the home of football, I still go to help other young people at the Academy when l am free, they are determined and also want to play for upper teams one day, l give them advice and play with them at times especially the under ten age group
“I am still trying to get my full potential and l am happy with the development and knowledge I’m acquiring from the Sheasham head coach, he believes in me and I’m happy to be here,” he said. #The Sun