Mthokozisi Dube

THERE’S more to Junior Makunike’s meteoric rise than just natural talent.

The 20-year-old football sensation, already drawing comparisons to Zimbabwean greats, has a story woven with both loss and the thrill of dreams coming true.

On a day etched in Zimbabwean football history, March 13th, a legend was tragically lost.

Blessing “Yogo Yogo” Makunike, a star for CAPS United, perished in a car accident along with two teammates.

Exactly 18 years later, on the very same date, destiny took an incredible turn.

A new Makunike burst onto the scene, this time a young man named Junior, following in his uncle’s footsteps with his official Premiership debut.

“My debut was special, my club at the time (Dynamos) actually tweeted about the fact that my uncle passed away on the same day. It’s amazing how God does these things,” the 20-year-old tells FARpost.

Blessing’s career had seen him light up the Zimbabwean topflight with CAPS United and even venture abroad for a stint in Serbia.

But the horrific accident cut his journey short at 27, leaving a huge void in the hearts of fans.

Junior, born in the same year of the tragedy, never had the chance to know his uncle personally.

Yet, Yogo Yogo’s legacy looms large, a constant source of inspiration for the budding footballer. His maiden season in the topflight was a poignant echo of his uncle’s career.

The memory of his late uncle burns brightly in his heart.

His father, Jeffrey Makunike, and grandmother serve as a constant reminder of his uncle’s legacy, fuelling the rising star’s ambition.

“My father has told me about my uncle and that inspires me a lot,” Makunike reflects.

“I am told he was a good player, so I just want to take over from where he left and elevate the name Makunike to higher levels.

“I never got to see him play because I was born the year he died. But I’ve heard a lot about his talent. He was a top player. His memory pushes me to be better every day,” he states.

“But I’m not just living his dream; I’m creating my own.”

Junior Makunike has quickly become a name to watch in Zimbabwean football. Now playing for Simba Bhora, a team embarking on their second season in the Premier League, his talent shines bright. — FARpost.

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