THE sight of his teammates packing their bags and going to their respective countries for national duty always makes Romania-based Zimbabwean striker, Mike “Mbozha” Temwanjira, green with envy.
Report by Michael Madyira
Almost a decade has elapsed with the FC Vaslui target man playing professional football in Europe, but surprisingly, he has only been capped thrice by the Warriors with the matches being international friendlies.
Over the years, he has also watched teammates such as Zhivko Milanov, rushing to catch a flight to join the likes of Dimitar Bebatov and Martin Petrov in the Bulgarian national team to play in either the Euro Cup qualifiers or the World Cup.
Temwanjira would also sadly bow his head in shame wondering why it cannot also be him, as former teammate, Serge Akakpo, joins his Togolese teammates. The same situation occured when former Senegalese international Ousmane N’Doye narrated to him his experiences at the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) staged in Ghana.
Even the new boy at the Fernando Varela is a starter for Cape Verde. Piotr Celeban played for Poland in 2008, while 10 of his teammates have turned out for the Romanian senior side since Temwanjira joined the top-flight club in 2007.
Recently in June, Temwanjira felt helpless when another teammate, Paíto, taunted him that he would captain Mozambique to victory against Zimbabwe in a World Cup qualifier match, which however ended in a goalless draw.
As a regular player at his club, he would be wondering why successive Warriors coaches overlook him.
Sadly for Temwanjira, local fans will always remember him as the player who was introduced as a second-half substitute, and only to be substituted 11 minutes later in a friendly match against Zambia in December 2005.
“The feeling is just bad when I see these guys leaving for national duty with their respective countries. My teammates always ask me why I am not called for the national team and I just tell them that it is beyond my control,” said Temwanjira.
“National team coaches select players suitable for their plans and I just have to respect their decisions. There is this Zimbabwean guy who works here and he always tells me that his workmates do not believe it that I am not a member of the senior national team.”
What hurts him the most, he said, is having to attentively listen and marvel at his African teammates’ accounts of their time with their national teams.
“My mates always tell me how good it is to represent their countries.
“Mozambique captain Paíto, was mocking me, thinking I was going to play for Zimbabwe against his country. He said the Warriors gave them a good run and he praised Zimbabwe’s right back, Oscar Machapa, on that day.”