GEMS’ SECRET WEAPON . . . Two Taperas, One Team, One Mission

Tadious Manyepo

Sports Reporter

MANICA DIAMONDS coach Jairos Tapera and his silky winger Michael “Gunners” Tapera share the same surname but they are not related.

They both hail from Chivi in Masvingo but only got to meet when Jairos joined the Mutare team, two years after Michael had been signed from Masvingo United.

Until Jairos’ appointment, Michael was more of a supporting act in the Gems ship, which boasted of an array of big name players.

Even last season, when Jairos was in charge, the winger was having fringe roles mainly as cover for Gerald Bero.

But the gaffer appears to be getting the best out of the player with Michael hitting top form in the past five matches.

The 24-year-old has been one of the main actors ever since Manica Diamonds got their season rolling following an indifferent start.

They have since won their last five straight games to close in on leaders Highlanders with Michael finding the target three times and providing a single assist.

And, with Jairos masterminding the turn-around from the dugout and Michael executing the tactics like nobody else, the Tapera chemistry has inevitably taken the league by storm.

“Growing up in Chivi, I never saw myself as a footballer until one day in 2008 when I was in Grade 4 when I was asked to join some village team.

“My career took off from there and I would 

eventually get a scholarship at Chibi High School before joining Masvingo United.

“Then in 2019, Masvingo United played against Manica Diamonds in some companies’ contest and that’s when coach Johanisi Nhumwa signed me.

“But, to be honest, I have always been one of those players who are looked down upon. I have always worked very hard and I am very glad that the hard work is beginning to pay off.

“I am determined to play significant roles for my team and achieve big things this season. Well, I am not related to coach Jairos although our surnames are the same.”

Jairos said the group of players he has at his disposal, including Michael, is special.

“Obviously, I have been asked whether I am related to Michael several times. But we are not related. Football, is however, a big clan and we are family,” said Jairos.

“I am very happy with how we are playing as a team. Each and every player is putting in maximum effort. I am happy with all of them including Michael who I mostly introduce as an impact player.”

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