Mwaruwari looks relaxed in his 12th floor executive suite at the Meikles Hotel – the same hotel floor that housed R&B superstar Akon and the late and legendary Michael Jackson and Princess Diana during their expedition here.
“Can I offer you anything to drink,” he says with a charming smile, while munching a Granny Smith apple as he ushers me to a lily-white single couch, while he seats on a Victorian-style couch with a floral print.
I am here to ask him about reports that he is about to dump Zimbabwean citizenship, preferring to hold a British passport.
The globetrotting Blackburn striker talks passionately about football and the several international destinations, including France, Switzerland and England that he has been to.
Mwaruwari’s manners and his accent are taken from an Englishmen’s textbook, probably from the many years spent abroad, but it ends there.
“I can never trade my Zimbabwean citizenship for anything. I love my country. I love the sun. There have been what I call a campaign for me to take a British passport but I will never do that. Home is here. United Kingdom kubasa (work place). I have many properties in England but I will never take a British citizenship.
“In fact I have an indefinite leave to remain (also known as settlement or permanent residence) since I have been there for more than five years now. I can go in and out of England as I please,” Mwaruwari said.
The striker, who penned a one-year deal with Blackburn Rovers, said he does not like the weather in the United Kingdom.
“Imagine we have the sun here for at least the whole year and in England you only see it for two months. It’s horrible. I like the weather here. Why would I leave such perfect weather conditions? I will be at work when I am in England,” he reiterated.
Mwaruwari said he saw no reason why he should get a British citizenship as his children are entitled to that priviledge. The striker is married to South African Thembi and the couple has four kids: Colines, Benjani Junior, Belle and Nissi.
“Belle and Nissi were born in England. In fact they would have to decide for themselves where they want to stay. They can either choose to have their mother’s South African citizenship or be Zimbabwean. They can also be British. It’s up to them,” Mwaruwari said.
A child born in the United Kingdom after 1983 to persons who are not British citizens will automatically be a British citizen if at least one of the parents has indefinite leave to remain or other settled status at the time of the child’s birth.
Mwaruwari said it was tough living in a foreign country.
“I have been to places like Cyprus and France where you hardly see a Zimbabwean for months. England is better because you can visit some people from back home. Zimbabwe is a laid-back country and I like it so much,” Mwaruwari said.
Mwaruwari ruled out retiring any time soon adding that he still had fresh legs for another dance in the English premiership. The striker, who turns 33 on August 13 this year has sealed a one-year deal with Blackburn Rovers.
The English side have also pledged to help in funding a football school of excellence, which Mwaruwari wants to establish in Zimbabwe, as part of the relationship between the two parties.
Mwaruwari was scheduled to fly out of the country at the weekend to join his Blackburn Rovers for a pre-season training camp in Austria. Blackburn Rovers will leave England next week, for their training camp in Austria.