RONALD Chitiyo has admitted that his inability to speak Arabic or French has made life difficult for him since he joined eight-time Tunisian champions Club Sportif Sfaxien on a two-and-a-half-year deal in August last year.
BY JOTHAM GUTSA
The 25-year-old former CAPS United forward will be hoping to make his long-awaited debut for the club when the Tunisian league resumes next weekend as Club Sportif Sfaxien were still serving a Fifa-imposed transfer embargo until early this month.
The former Douglas Warriors, Monomotapa, Dynamos, Harare City and CAPS United midfielder, who is in the country on holiday, said he has not been able to communicate well with his new teammates and the unfamiliar food has been a setback in his quest to set the Tunisian league alight.
“Since August, I have been training with my teammates although I was not playing any competitive games due to the ban imposed by Fifa. It has been interesting but challenging especially on food and language,” Chitiyo told The Sports Hub in an interview last week.
“I have resorted to using sign language to communicate with teammates who are predominantly Arabs. Most of them do not understand English as they prefer their traditional Arabic and French languages,” said the former CAPS United midfielder.
The skillful player said the language barrier will, however, not jeopardise his career in Tunisia
“I communicate in English with a few players who do understand it; however, most of them speak Arabic and French, which I do not understand at all. In the field of play it has to be business as usual and I believe it is the trend world-wide whereby players come from different backgrounds but win trophies for their respective clubs.
“It feels great to be back to competitive football again after several months just watching others play. I hope and pray that I will contribute immensely to the cause of the team in its quest to win the league title after five years of near misses,” said the former CAPS United midfielder.
The diminutive player, who is nicknamed Rooney, lamented his unfamiliarity to the Tunisian cuisine.
“The dishes are all different from what we consume in Zimbabwe so I have been surviving on rice, spaghetti and macaroni together with beef and chicken. I missed home and sadza and will go back to my base this week as a rejuvenated player,” he said.
A product of the high density suburb of Epworth — some 12km south east of Harare — Chitiyo began his senior career with Douglas Warriors before joining Monomotapa United, where he finished as second runner-up for the 2012 Soccer Star of the Year award.
In a bid to take his career beyond the country’s borders, Chitiyo had trial stints at South African sides Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates in 2013 but a move failed to materialise.
Following Monomotapa’s relegation from the top division in 2014, Chitiyo signed for Dynamos before another failed move to South African side Royal Eagles.
Chitiyo then left Dynamos to sign for Harare City in 2015 before fulfilling his dream of playing for Harare giants CAPS United before the start of the 2017 Castle Lager Premier Soccer League season.
The skillful midfielder caught Club Sportif Sfaxien’s attention during CAPS United’s CAF Champions League campaign, where they reached the group stages.
Although Malian football agent Mohamed Tidane facilitated his move to the North African country, Chitiyo gives credit to his former manager, the late Edzai Kasinauyo, who he said laid the foundation for him to be where he is now.
“Kasinauyo was like a father to me and one has to go back to 2013 when I was still at Monomotapa when he facilitated deals for me to undergo trials at Ajax Cape Town and Orlando Pirates. His dream was always to see me reach my full potential and play in competitive teams and leagues. That is why I had to move to Zimbabwe giants Dynamos and CAPS United,” said the talented midfielder.
Chitiyo will join his club — which is on second position with 28 points after 14 matches — and the Tunisian giants will be happy to welcome the Zimbabwe international as they seek to overturn an eight point deficit on perennial rivals Esperance who lead the 14-team league with 36 points from the same number of matches.