Aces Youth Soccer Academy (AYSA) graduate and Highlanders striker Russell Chifura is learning a lot and enjoying his career under the tutelage of the current Bosso technical set-up led by club legend Madinda Ndlovu, the player has said.
By Ronald Moyo
The 19-year-old striker was identified by the Highlanders technical team during the club’s targeted trials that were held in January as part of preparations for the 2019 soccer season.
After seeing the young striker during the targeted trails, Ndlovu described Chifura as an intelligent and mobile forward whose runs off the ball are the greatest attribute coaches will look for, from a modern-day striker.
Besides being one of the biggest clubs in Zimbabwe, Highlanders have been a perfect home for Chifura, with the teenager getting the necessary appreciation, support and encouragement from everyone in the club.
“I’m happy to join one of the biggest clubs in Zimbabwe.I think I have settled well because everyone is always encouraging me and that motivation is making me push myself to work extra hard,” said Chifura.
Quizzed about what he has learnt so far from the Highlanders technical team in the past fives months, Chifura said football is generally the same, but being at Bosso has made him appreciate the different levels of football and the intensity that comes with it.
“From what I have learnt from AYSA I found that football is just the same maybe what changes in football is just the level and intensity.But its a great honour to be in their (Highlanders coaches) hands because I am learning everyday,” he added.
Upon his arrival, Chifura would immediately feel at home, as he established good workmanship with all other 26 players in the squad, who he sees as his brothers – given that he is the youngest player in the current squad.
“To me everyone is my closest friend because I enjoy learning from all of the guys as I am the youngest in the team. I see them as my brothers,” said the youngster.
The player is however, yet to make his first appearance, as coaches have been giving the trio of Prince Dube, Tinashe Makanda and Peter Nyirenda the nod ahead of him.
He is however, satisfied with the coaches’ decision and patiently waiting for the opportunity and he is ready for the challenge.
“As for me I’m ready to play but I respect my coach’s decision with his experience he knows when he will introduce me,” he added.
Despite the team’s slow start to the season, Chifura is inspired by the moral in the camp, and he thinks Highlanders doesn’t look like a team that will finish outside the top four.
The Norton born former Chiedza Primary school and St Eric High school pupil started his football career at the age of eight with Aspire Academy before joining Aces 4 years later.
The academy has in recent past established itself as a football conveyor belt churning out great footballers in the mould of the current Zimbabwe national team captain Knowledge Musona and Kaizer Chiefs forward Khama Billiat.
Asked about his favourite players at both, the local and international level, Chifura could not hide his admiration for his current teammate Dube and former Manchester United, Real Madrid and now Juventus Portuguese talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
“My favourite player locally is my teammate Prince Dube and internationally I like Cristiano Ronaldo because to me he is a complete player who can do what it takes for the team to win,” he said.
Chifura is grateful for the support he gets from his family members who have been cheering him up, and encouraging from the first days he decided to take football as a career.