Blessing Malinganiza, Sports Reporter
WITH just 11 days to his to birthday, Marshall Munetsi could never ask for a better gift.
His dream move to join French top-flight side Stade de Reims is the best thing he could ever imagine – especially coming in his birthday month.
Born on June 22, 1996, Munetsi signed a four-year deal with the Ligue 1 side, which was made public on Monday.
Munetsi, who was with South Africa’s Orlando Pirates for the past two years after spending one year at Baroka on loan, says he is living his dream.
“I have always had a dream to play in Europe, and France was a country and a league that l loved. It has produced top players and when the opportunity came l didn’t even think twice.
“I just thank God, he made it possible and all the people that have helped me to achieve this move with the prayers of my family and friends.
“This means a lot to my career as l have joined a big club which is an ambitious team with a rich history. My dream as a young boy was to play in the European Champions League and to play for top teams in Europe and joining Reims is a dream come true,” he said.
Born in Avondale, Munetsi attended Avondale and Donnybrook Primary schools and Mabvuku High School.
He played for Ali Sundowns and got his first national team call up for the Young Warriors (Under 17) whilst in high school.
“I joined Blue Rangers FC in the first division for one year and then l went to Friendly Academy owned by Patridge Muskwe and Richard Solobala with the late technical director Friday Phiri.
“They helped me secure a move to FC Cape Town (now Ubuntu Cape Town) in South Africa where I spent six months before signing for Orlando Pirates. I was then loaned to Baroka FC for one season before returning to Pirates until the move to Reims.
“The journey has not been easy but I want to thank everyone who has been there for me in building my career.”
The 22-year-old utility player says he has always been preparing himself for such big stages and is ready for new challenges.
“I have always been working hard and preparing for moves like this and it’s pay back for the efforts that l have been putting on and off the pitch. Hard work always pays and I am a testimony of that,” he said.
The Warriors midfielder, who is in Egypt with the Zimbabwe national team, promised to raise the country’s flag high in his new adventure.
He talks of emulating other African legends who rose to play at the top level.
“All you can expect is more hard work and raising up the standards of Zimbabwean football and African football, emulating the legends that have starred in the French league and went on to play for Europe’s top teams.”
While others might think he has reached the pinnacle, Munetsi says this is just a stepping stone.
“The best is yet to come,” he says.
And indeed, age is on his side.
“Obviously I am an ambitious person who tries to go beyond what people imagine.
“And this is only the beginning of great things and new signings to come and as a Christian believing in God will make all the plans come true,” he said.
And on the upcoming Afcon finals, he said The Warriors are capable of doing well working as a team.
He is participating at the Afcon finals for the first time while it is Zimbabwe’s fourth appearance.