New Warrior Makunike feeling on top of the world

31 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
New Warrior Makunike feeling on top of the world Junior Makunike

The Sunday News

Fungai Muderere , Senior Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE senior national team debutant Junior Makunike, is a man feeling on top of the world after he was handed a call up to the Warriors team that participated in a four nations cup contest in Malawi recently.

Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia and the tournament’s eventual winners Kenya took part with the Mzilikazi-bred midfield enforcer managing to get some game time in a team that was under the guidance of respected Norman Mapeza.

“It was a dream come true for me. I have always wished to scale dizzy heights and represent my country. I’m happy for the chance I got and I will always treasure that. It’s all about keeping on working hard. It was a great experience for me.

Hopefully, I will manage to get more call ups,” said Makunike.

He is a player that went to Mpopoma High School.

At his school, he was put under the Mpopoma High Sports Academy (Mposa) together with Chicken Inn first team right back Arthur Chinda and Hwange’s attacking midfielder Tendai Muvuti among others.

On Good Friday, the talented Makunike, who is an ex-Dynamos player, returned to his native Mzilikazi suburb when his club Simba Bhora took on Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium albeit on 0-1 losing note.

According to our sister paper B-Metro, Makunike grew up in Mzilikazi and was a standout football player at Mpopoma High School before packing his bags to move to Prince Edward High School in Harare. From Prince Edward, he did not have to go far in search of a professional career, signing with Dynamos.

He was in town at least three times with DeMbare last season and even scored a fantastic volley in a 3-0 win over Chicken Inn. Life is a little different for Makunike now. Although he does not get to see his family as often as he would like to, he is often surprised by who else he gets to see.

“A lot of people have come back into my life, whether it’s through Facebook or seeing them in person. It means a lot to see people that I haven’t talked to in a while. I have been in Harare for a long time, so it means a lot to come back and see my hometown friends and see a familiar face once in a while. It’s awesome to represent your hometown,” he shared with B-Metro.

Born in Bulawayo 20 years ago, his passion for football developed at a young age. And being a lad from one of the country’s most trusted sources of raw footie talent — Mzilikazi, a suburb just a short walk from the iconic Barbourfields Stadium, it just seems natural for him to perform whenever he touches the Emagumeni turf.

While his parents, mother Thandeka Moyo, and father, Jeffrey Makunike, himself a retired goalkeeper who played many a season in the then Zifa Southern Region Division One League, supported local rivals Highlanders and Dynamos, respectively, their love for the beautiful sport undoubtedly played a huge role in a journey that saw him arrive at Simba Bhora ahead of the season.

After showing his class early in his development, the 20-year-old midfielder’s talent was quickly acknowledged and he signed for Bantu Rovers’ juniors before joining the Highlanders juniors set up.

The “B” Square lad appears well on his way to becoming a regular in the Zimbabwe senior side and featured heavily for Mapeza in Malawi recently. He has had a smoking start to this season scoring both goals as his side won 2-1 away to Manica Diamonds on Match Day One. Still, Makunike will relish playing his former development side but retains his love for Bulawayo.

The midfielder — perfectly suited to his berth in the middle of the park — still calls Bulawayo his home and regularly visits and shares moments with many of his former teammates from his former youth teams, a great example of his humble character that has helped him on his way to the top. – @FungaiMuderere

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