Tapuwa Kapini’s former teammate Thubelihle Nkomazana believes the Highlands Park goalkeeper could play beyond the age of 40 because he has stayed away from alcohol and cigarettes.
Nkomazana, who played with the 35-year-old goalie at Bulawayo giants Highlanders between 2003 and 2006, is a proponent of the ‘you can’t drink and thrive’ notion. He says, for as long as he has known the former Zimbabwe international, he has always been a teetotaler, who maintained healthy habits.
The United States-based Nkomazana, now director of coaching at Beach United in South Carolina, is convinced healthy habits will prolong the longevity of any athlete. He says professional athletes should enjoy alcohol moderately if they are to stay in the game for long.
“It’s impressive that he is still playing at the highest level in a League like South Africa. I think he can still play another six or so years. He wasn’t a drinker or smoker, so who knows, he could still go on and on,” Nkomazana.
The former Highlanders defender, who studied sport management, explains that scientific research indicates that smoking and drinking will reduce the longevity of any athlete.
He speaks highly of his former captain, who he says has “always had an outstanding work ethic”.
“His work ethic was off the charts. Kapini had a winning mentality even at training. His attitude can inspire a lot of people especially the younger generation. I had to defend his goal with pride knowing that he wanted us to win,” Nkomazana adds. The eccentric goalminder recently told FARPost he would be doing himself a disservice if he hangs up his gloves at 36.
He dismissed reports that he was on the verge of hanging up his gloves. “I know I can still create plenty football memories together with my team-mates,” the Zimbabwean said.
Kapini has been playing football at the highest level for exactly two decades after making his debut in 2000 for the now defunct Black Aces in Zimbabwe.
He rose to stardom at Highlanders Football Club, winning the League title thrice in his homeland before joining the great trek to South Africa.
The Zimbabwean has featured between the sticks for his current club Highlands Park, AmaZulu and Silver Stars (now Platinum Stars) since 2006 and has notched up 191 starts for the three clubs. He has conceded 238 goals and kept 53 clean sheets.
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By Mthokozisi Dube