‘…I was forced into retirement’
Shelly Guni, Sports Reporter
IT’S now five-years since Esau Amisi retired from professional football but the physical and mental pain still lingers.
Amisi was arguably one of the nation’s next brightest prospects when he was injured during a training session at Rufaro in 2011.
The pint-sized former Dynamos forward had announced himself through the famed Moses Chunga’s kidznet project.
However, having being forced to play injured, Amisi eventually hang his boosts after failing to raise money for surgery.
Talking to Amisi now, it is evident he is bitter.
Now 35, probably Amisi should just be tapering off as a player but instead, this is a man whose career truly ended at 29 “I can say my career ended in 2011 because the other 4 years I was just trying to make ends meet to which it didn’t work out until I finally hung my boots in 2015,” Amisi told H-Metro.
The 2011 incident was at Rufaro Stadium, then home ground to Harare giants, Dynamos.
“I had just signed a contract with Dynamos so it was a training session at Rufaro. I remember Rufaro had this artificial turf. I was in full speed when I fell down and landed on my knee. At that time I didn’t feel any pain because the leg was numb but when I went back home that’s when I realised that it was really bad. It was becoming hard for me to walk,” he says.
From the way he explains, one could see that the memories are still fresh. While many would seek medical attention immediately, Amisi just took in some pain killers and continued with his life as normal.
All he was trying to do was to please his coach so that he could be registered in the squad that was going to play for that particular season.
Amisi was just coming from Chicken Inn where he had helped the team to win promotion into the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League.
Before that, he was part of the Gunners squad that won the Premiership title in 2009.
He continues: “After that injury, I continued with my training although I could feel the pain. It got to the extend that coach Lloyd Mutasa noticed it and that was that. I wasn’t registered.”
After failing to make the squad, that is when he decided to seek medical help. But after considering his background, where he is the breadwinner with his whole family looking up to him, Amisi didn’t give heed to the doctor’s directive, in fact he asked to be loaned to Shooting Stars.
“The doctor told me to rest for more than 8 months and with the pressure I had I started taking some pain killers and asked to be loaned to Shooting Stars. My pocket was running dry due to not playing and with the belief that I will be fine, it actually got worse,” he says.
After realising that he was no longer performing well and the injury was getting worse, he then decided to take the eight months rest as previously advised by his doctor, only to come back in 2013.
“I came back and started training with CAPS United but come mid-season when I was about to be registered, the problem recurred so I decided to take another rest.
“In 2014 I went to a Division One team where my leg was now responding well and I was gaining match fitness as well but I only played for one season and the next season I joined another division one team which later disbanded. That was when I decided to leave the pitch.”
Amisi explained that persistent injuries had a huge impact in what was happening to him, which led him to making the bold decision to end his career.
“As any other footballer, I was unlucky with injuries,” he says.
“When you are always injured sometimes your injuries can also come from the mindset, the state of mind when you are no longer playing, not able to do what you used to do before.
“I did my part in football. The last injury I had contributed to my retirement because I couldn’t get medical help. It was no longer good for me.” he added.
Born and bred in Chitungwiza. Amisi went to Fungisai Primary school where he was scouted by Dynamos who later offered him a scholarship to attend Churchill Boys High. His love for football started way back when he used to watch the likes of Norman Mapeza, Kalisto Pasuwa and many other legends who stayed in Chitungwiza in action.
“I grew up in the Dynamos family. They took me when I was in grade 6 and gave me a scholarship to Churchill. While at Churchill we won a number of tournaments that also impressed DeMbare. I remember getting a contract and playing in the (DeMbare) first team. My first game I was in form 4, in Rufaro. We played against Effiel Flats.”
Amisi regrets lacking proper advisors in his career. As he found himself hopping from one team to another.
He believes if he had a manager who could at least advise him on some of the decisions to make he could have done better in his career.
“The fact that you will be on demand, I lacked proper advice because you can see that I couldn’t stay at one place for long. And also when I get to that team they would want to make me work so hard that even if you tell them that you are feeling some pain they will still make you play.
“I won’t disclose names of the teams but there are a number of games that I ended up being injected with pain killers before the game so that I can just play but after the game no one would do a follow up.
“So I can say that led me to so many injuries because they were not healing and I was not getting medical help,” he says.
However, he added that he was happy to learn that the artificial turf was going to be removed.
“That turf was so hard. It is not recommended to play in a surface like that. That is the reason why when I fell I was really affected because it’s a hard surface.
“When I heard that they were removing the artificial turf I was so happy because I can say there are a number of people that were affected by that surface.”
“It’s the same pitch that made me shine, it holds all the glory and good moments for me and also the worst nightmare because that’s the same venue I got injured in,” he adds
He said lack of funds also made him forego the option of getting help. He had to choose between fending for his family and raising funds for the injured leg.”
“It was a hard decision. I had to give up on my career so that I can look for other means to help the family. I couldn’t continue to play because the more I played the more I got hurt and the more i needed medical help,” he said.
Currently he is looking after his family and also his late siblings’ children.
“I am the only surviving male child in my family. We were four boys and the other three are all late. They left behind children that I am taking care of.
“For myself I have a daughter who is now 10-years old. So I must make sure that all of them get the same. I am also looking after my ailing mother.
He added: “Currently, I am not employed. I used to be but this injury sometimes it makes it hard for me to walk so I am now home and managing a Zimdancehall artist Bernard “Liquid Yonke” Hweta.”
Amisi remembers the year where he was supposed to leave for Malta.
He said he made a decision which was based on emotions and love for his team, Dynamos.
“In 2005 I was had a chance to go abroad, there was this country called Malta that I wanted to go but Dembare came back looking for me. I felt for my team as they were battling relegation. So we helped the team to survive.”
He played alongside the likes of Norman Maroto, Samson Choruwa, Eddie Mashiri, Leo Kurauzvione amongst many other players. His wish is to start a football Academy.
“For me to be a star it was because of someone. I want to start an Academy just to impart my knowledge to the youngsters and nurture their talent. You find that there seems like there is no competition in the national team because our junior policy is now dead.
“During our time, Dynamos vs CAPS United under 13 it would be war. So I think there is no push. I wish to revive that. If I can get help, and funding I am willing to give it my all.”
Amisi believes he could have made it to the national team but says, “I think it’s just cruelty in Zimbabwe because I remember the Warriors coach once wanted me in the national team but he was made to believe that I was too short.”
However, the former star is appealing to well-wishers to help him get medical help. “The last time I made consultations, the specialists in South Africa were talking about something like US$300 but as I said earlier I couldn’t raise that amount. If I can get someone to help me I will forever be grateful. I am always in pain to the extent that I breakdown especially during winter it is something else.
“So, please help me so that I can be able to fulfil my dream,” he says.