ON June 22 2015, How Mine playmaker Charles Sibanda was involved in a car accident which saw him being admitted at Mpilo Hospital for several days.
Fortunately, How Mine stood by their player during the difficult time and a recovered Sibanda is now back in the fold — expected to pay back his masters’ generosity through good soccer.
Chaluva — as Sibanda is popularly known in the football circles — spent half of the 2015 soccer season on the side-lines recovering from a broken collarbone, fractured ribs and punctured lungs sustained in the accident.
The good news is that Sibanda is back in training preparing for the new soccer season with the gold miners.
Speaking to Standardsport in Bulawayo last week, Sibanda said there was a time when he feared his career was over.
“As a person who earns a living solely from playing football, I was a bit worried. It was one scary moment, not knowing whether I was going to ever play football again and earn a few cents,” Sibanda said.
He added, “I am grateful to the club. They stood by me in many ways and fortunately, my operation in November last year was successful.”
The 2010 Soccer Star of the Year is back in training with Chikurupati under new coach Kelvin Kaindu and reckons it is possible for him to hit top form again.
This will not be the first time Sibanda and Kaindu work together. The two were once student and master at Highlanders.
“It was not easy when I was inactive but I am feeling better now that I am back on the field. I want to go back to scoring goals and I know I still have a lot to offer,” Sibanda said.
The former Bulawayo Arsenal, Hwange, Motor Action, FC Platinum and Highlanders striker joined How Mine at the beginning of last season on a two-year contract.
His move to How Mine linked him with fellow joint 2014 PSL top goal scorer Kuda Musharu.
The formidable striking partnership that the Chikurupati leadership must have envisaged when they signed Sibanda did not materialise as both strikers struggled for goals.
Sibanda had, however, begun to show glimpses of quality play when he was disrupted after he got injured in the car accident. He is, however, confident he will repay the faith that his paymasters showed him during the time he was recovering.
“To have fully recovered from my injuries is because of God’s grace and it makes me believe that everything is possible,” Sibanda said.
“I have to work hard to try and get back to my best and so far I have been hard at work together with my team-mates. Hopefully, by the end of the season I will have played my part in bringing glory to the club.”
Sibanda — who turns 30 this year — still harbours dreams of playing outside the country.
“Age is nothing but a number and with hard work and a bit of luck, I may still attract the attention of foreign clubs,” said Sibanda.
“There has been interest from some foreign teams in the past but nothing concrete materialised and that is why I am saying luck also plays a big part because personally, I had put in all the hard work for them to notice me.”
Sibanda’s parting note was a warning to PSL defenders: “Charlie is back!”