THIS was love at first sight.
And, for Andrew Farai Rinomhota, his special audition could not have gone any better.
For a man, playing in his first World Cup qualifier and, for the first time, away from England, this was as good as it gets.
The 26-year-old midfielder made his bow for the Warriors on Sunday in a showdown against the Super Eagles of Nigeria.
The Cardiff City midfielder, who is the son of a Zimbabwean father and Welsh mother, took control of the midfield battles, dictating the tempo and imposing his style, and influence, all of the show.
The tricky artificial surface, where the bounce of the ball is quite irregular, can pose a real challenge for footballers not used to playing on such surfaces.
But, Rinomhota appeared at home on the surface and was the game’s stand-out player before he was pulled out eight minutes from time.
He was simply irresistible and made everything look very easy as he provided the kind of leadership, in midfield, which the Warriors had been crying for.
It’s difficult to find anyone, who has impressed, on his debut for the Warriors, better than what Rinomhota did on Sunday.
This was refreshingly different, watching a man who believed in the power of his talent and the beauty of his movements.
He was the conductor of the orchestra and, had the Warriors believed in their destiny, rather than blow away the chances that came their way, Rinomhota would have celebrated his debut appearance with a huge victory.
This class of Super Eagles doesn’t seem to have the quality which made the Nigerians one of the most powerful football nations on the continent.
But, they are still Nigerians and a football-mad country of more than 200 million people will always find some fine players to represent it.
One also needs to consider that the Warriors were not playing at home but on neutral soil and they had barely trained as a team before taking on Rwanda in the first match last week.
Rinomhota did not feature in that game.
But, when he was thrown into the fray on Sunday, it quickly became clear that the Warriors had stumbled on a diamond.
These are still early days and one game cannot define a footballer.
One game cannot really tell the true story of the qualities, which he possesses, and they will be those who will say this was a rag-tag side masquerading as the real Super Eagles.
Fair and fine!
What cannot be disputed was that this was a beautiful painting, which Rinomhota painted on Sunday and his message, to his people, was a simple one: FARAI.
And, boy oh boy, they were very happy.