Petros Kausiyo Deputy Sports Editor
CAPS United captain Hardlife Zvirekwi says he is determined to fight hard and make a return to football despite having part of his left arm amputated following injuries sustained in a horror car crash in Harare in the early hours of Monday morning.
The Zimbabwe international told ZIFA boss Philip Chiyangwa, who visited him at Parirenyatwa Hospital yesterday, he had not given up on continuing with his career as a professional footballer. Despite the serious injuries he sustained, Zvirekwi was in good spirits when Chiyangwa visited him in the company of Makonde West legislator Keith Guzah, who is a former Dynamos secretary-general.
The CAPS United skipper, who faces a lengthy period on the sidelines and has had to be removed from the Harare giants’ initial squad list at PSL, thanked the nation for the outpouring of support he has been receiving since news of his accident went viral on social media.
As he begins his rehabilitation at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, Zvirekwi could draw inspiration from the story of a Romanian footballer who recovered after losing his hand to play the professional game.
According to the Daily Mail, a Romanian teenager Cosmin Lambru achieved his dream of playing professional football in October last year — despite living with one hand for the last decade.
Lambru came off the bench for the final nine minutes of third division side Petrolul Ploiesti’s cup clash at home to Mioveni.
The hosts were eventually defeated 4-3 on penalties after extra-time, but the result didn’t dampen Lambru’s remarkable achievement.
The 18-year-old Romanian lost his left hand when he was hit by a truck around 10 years ago
The talented youngster lost his left hand when he was tragically hit by a truck when he was just eight-years-old.
Lambru was walking down the street with his friends when the incident occurred and it was initially feared that most of his arm would have to be amputated.
However, doctor Otilia Racasa overcame complications during the procedure to save the majority of the footballer’s limb.
Speaking about the accident to Romanian Newspaper Daily Sport, Lambru said: “We were coming home when a truck skidded and headed towards me. I threw myself into the vehicle to try and get under it. I felt terrible pain but I was aware that I had been taken to hospital.’’
Despite the serious nature of his injury, Lambru refused to give up on a career in football and progressed through the ranks before making his debut.
He travelled to Italy to buy his current prosthetic, spending what he describes as “a lot” of money for the realistic-looking hand.
“When I returned to football, I started to learn new things and especially how to fall, just resting on one arm,’’ Lambru told sport.ro’.
‘’It was not easy at all, but I did not cry and never do it. I’m not being cared for by anyone and I do not want to be.
“I have no fear of putting my foot on the ball, being attacked harder. That’s just football, only for the strong ones. Life is a struggle that never ends.’’
Chiyangwa has pledged his full backing for Zvirekwi with the Harare property mogul committing to personally ensure that the Zimbabwe international defender’s expenses will be taken care of throughout his rehabilitation.
The ZIFA boss took time to cheer Zvirekwi’s spirits and offer wise counsel to the defender.
He told the CAPS United skipper that all hope was not lost despite the mishap that had befallen him.
Chiyangwa has previously chipped in with an initiative to assist legendary former Dynamos star George Shaya, with the property tycoon setting up a fund that has been helping the five-time Soccer Star of the Year.
The ZIFA boss told Zvirekwi that it was imperative that his family, which looked up to him as the breadwinner, be assisted while their father underwent his rehabilitation.
“Someone had told me that you had been amputated by the shoulder and I had been more worried but I am sure you are going to play again.
“You have been captain of a big team and at one time you have been a successful captain of the national team and so I came here to say I will give you support.
“I would want your account details and I will deposit some money for use by your family. We will as ZIFA make some contribution to your family so that the family doesn’t starve. We know that you will be out of a job for some time.
“But I am happy with the way you are already showing signs of recovery and it shows that those years of hard work you have put in training your body are now helping as they have made you strong.
“We will also establish from the doctors what can be done to assist you to come back, if there something they can put on you, and I will also talk to Farai Jere (CAPS United president) about it, and see how we can help.
“I will never let you down and I have been discussing with my colleagues in ZIFA and I will go back and discuss further with them. We had put together a scheme for George Shaya when I asked how long we were going to talk about his problems without helping and I am glad that we did put something together and every month we are sending something to him,’’ Chiyangwa said.
Guzah also promised Zvirekwi and Chiyangwa he would use his parliamentary role to lobby for support for the defender given that he had been a national captain and was an asset to the national game. “I also think from a parliamentary position that the Ministry itself (of sport, Arts and Recreation) can chip in to ensure that some of his problems are ameliorated and we will surely explore that,’’ Guzah said.