Zimbabwean football is on the rise with a number of players making strides in some of the best leagues in Europe.
FARPost looks at the top 6 Zimbabwean footballers plying their trade at some of the best leagues across Europe. There is over 15 players from the Southern African nation, but these 6 are playing at the highest level from their European based stars.
MACAULEY MILES BONNE
Born in Ipswich in England, the 26-year-old striker is currently registered with English Championship side Queens Park Rangers who recently signed him on a three-year deal from Charlton Athletic who were relegated last season. The striker has scored 2 league goals in the 8 Championship games played so far in the English second tier.
He started his career at Ipswich Town as an 8-year-old and has since played for Leyton Orient, Colchester United, Charlton and now QPR in the Championship. Bonne has 66 career league goals to his name since making his debut with Colchester back in 2013. He has played twice for Zimbabwe who he is eligible for through his parents.
One of Zimbabwe’s best midfielders Nakamba came through from Belgian giants Club Brugge to join Aston Villa in the English Premier League last season. The 26-year-old first emerged through the ranks of Highlanders going through their ranks before moving to Bantu Rovers who gave him his debut at the tender age of 16.
Nakamba had an opportunity to go on trial at French side Nancy who eventually signed him as an 18-year-old and drafted him to their reserve side who play in the French 4th tier (CFA). The defensive midfielder later made his Nancy debut, but he would only make a handful of league appearances for the club before being loaned out to Dutch Club Vitesse Arnhem. He impressed so much while on loan at the Arnhem club that they signed him on a 4-year-deal and it is at Vitesse where he made his mark playing 69 games and scoring twice. In 2017 he was a member of the team that won the Dutch Cup and the club finished as runners up for the title.
In 2017 Belgian giants Club Brugge snatched him up for 4 million Euros and he went on to make 53 club appearances before moving to Aston Villa where he has played 31 league games since making his debut on the 16th of September 2019.
The breakthrough star of the current Zimbabwean attack, Kadewere was born in the capital city of Harare in 1996. He made his senior debut in the Zimbabwean Premier League with Harare City for whom he scored 7 goals in his first season. The attacker was later loaned to former Swedish champions Djurgarden IF who later signed him permanently for four years. In Sweden the striker played 43 league games and scored 13 goals before French Ligue 2 side Le Havre came calling for his services. In two seasons the striker bagged 23 league goals for the club including finishing as the league’s top goal scorer last season.
Olympique Lyon signed the 24-year-old at the beginning of 2020, but part of the deal was that he must stay in Ligue 2. At the start of Lyon’s pre-season for the 2020/21 season he joined his parent club and he recently scored his first goals in their 2-1 victory against Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1.
The man commonly known as the ‘Smiling Assassin’ in the streets of South Africa, Musona is one of the senior players in the Zimbabwe national team roster. He came through the ranks of the youth set ups of several clubs including Manyame United, Haka United and Aces Youth Soccer Academy before being scouted by Kaizer Chiefs who lured him to the South African Premier Soccer League in 2009. The attacker hadn’t made any appearance in the Zimbabwean topflight, but he hit the ground running in South Africa scoring 19 goals in 49 league games between 2009 and 2011. Musona made his mark in the 2010/11 season when he scored 15 league goals in 28 league appearances, this propelled him to winning the Lesley Manyathela Golden Boot.
The 30-year-old attracted a lot of interest across Europe, but he signed for Bundesliga side 1899 Hoffenheim. The Zimbabwean struggled for game time at the club and was loaned out to Augsburg where he also failed to regain his form. After his loan at Augsburg where he played 14 games without a single goal, he was loaned back to South Africa to join former club Kaizer Chiefs. After scoring 16 goals in 25 appearances in all competitions the striker attracted interest from clubs in Europe again, and KV Oostende signed him in January 2015. At Oostende his career was revived and he scored 43 league goals in 103 appearances. In 2018 giants RSC Anderlecht signed the ‘Smiling Assassin’, but his failure to cement a place in the team led to him being loaned out to Lokeren and now Kas Eupen where he has scored three goals in 13 Belgian Pro league appearances.
Born in Zimbabwe in 1998, Muskwe moved to the United Kingdom with his parents at the age of three. The winger joined Leicester City’s youth set up and went through the ranks of the former Premier League Champions before being loaned out to third tier side Swindon for the rest of the 2029/20 season, and loaned out to the same club again this season.
MARSHALL NYASHA MUNETSI
Another familiar face in Southern Africa having already played in the South African second and first tier. Munetsi burst onto the scene in 2015 while playing for Ubuntu Cape Town in the 2015/16 season. He also spent sometime at Baroka, on loan from Orlando Pirates. Later on, Munetsi made a total of 28 league appearances for Pirates scoring two goals. At Pirates he was used as both a centre back and in his favourite defensive midfield role.
In 2019 French Ligue 1 side Stade Reims signed Munetsi and he has been a regular starter at the club having made 31 appearances in all competitions so far. Last season he was a key member of the team that qualified for the 2020/21 UEFA Europa League.
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By Prince Sobayeni