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Matawu defies age

LAST year veteran midfielder Clemence Matawu graced the Soccer Stars of the Year calendar for the fifth time in his career after an impressive season in which he proved to be in a class of his own to help former champions Chicken Inn to a respectable top four finish.

BY FORTUNE MBELE

Clemence Matawu

And as he approaches his 35th birthday in November this year, the nimble-footed midfielder, who has played a part in the GameCocks’ solid campaign thus far, reckons he still has more years of playing at the top level before he ventures into coaching.

Seventeen years into his football career, which included a stint in Poland, the 2006 Soccer Star of the Year continues to trouble many a youngster in the topflight league with his industriousness and skill.

Matawu is part of a growing list of age-defying veteran players who continue to hold their own in the domestic premiership.

“I am still around and enjoying my football. I am not quitting yet,” he told Standardsport last week.

“I will continue playing until the body says no; and if all goes well, I will go into coaching after I get my CAF badges. But until then, I am still around until the body says enough is enough.”

By his own admission, Matawu has been having a rather stop-start season this year and he prefers to credit the team’s solid start to the season to his teammates Moses Jackson and Innocent Mucheneka.

Matawu, who has been voted among the country’s best players five times in 2003, 2004, 2006, 2015 and 2016, wouldn’t mind making a sixth appearance at the end of the season.

“I have had an indifferent season this year. Maybe it is because of old age. There are players who are doing well at the club, especially Moses Jackson and Innocent Mucheneka, but I would be happy if I make it into the calendar again this year. I will be happy to make it half a dozen, considering my age,” he said.

Matawu is still the Chicken Inn’s skipper and some times he passes the armband to his deputy Jackson, who has been scoring important goals for the GameCocks of late.

The veteran midfielder is currently enrolled at the National University of Science and Technology where he is studying for a Bachelor of Applied Science Honours Degree in Sports Science and Coaching and will start his internship at his club Chicken Inn on Thursday.

“I am going on attachment on September 1 at the club. I will be helping in administration and have also been helping with the juniors,” he said.

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