WALES-BASED Zimbabwe Warriors new boy Alec Mudimu left the country when he was a mere five-year-old.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
But his football talent has brought him back to his roots. he spent a whole week in camp with the national team at Yadah Hotel in Harare as Zimbabwe prepares to defend the Cosafa Cup they won last year.
After a brilliant season in the Welsh Premier League, Mudimu received a national team call-up for the Four Nations tournament held in Zambia in March and is now part of the Cosafa squad.
Cefn Druids, Mudimu’s club, finished fifth in the league and earned Europa League qualification following a playoff win over Cardiff Met a fortnight ago.
The 23-year-old utility player seemed at home with his Warriors teammates and could not hide his joy when The Sports Hub exclusively interviewed him on the sidelines.
Can you speak Shona Alec?
“Mbichana, mbichana, mbichana (Just a little bit),” he said bursting out in laughter.
“In greeting you say, ndeipi or mhoroi, makadii? It’s just bits and pieces. You know back in Wales my mom still speaks Shona and all my family in England speak strong Shona so I can understand their speaking, but I am getting there also,” he said.
“I also enjoy eating sadza. In fact, sadza has always been part of my life back in Wales and for as long as I can remember. It’s been a while since I have been back home and I am treasuring my time here. I am enjoying every moment and I am learning so much. It’s a very special occasion being in Zimbabwe,” Mudimu added.
Mudimu, who moved to England with his family close to 20 years ago, began his junior football career at Sheffield Wednesday before moving to Stalybridge Celtic in Manchester.
He has also played for Radcliffe Borough, Northwich Victoria and Stockport Town in the lower echelons of English football before joining Cefn Druids in July 2017, where he went on to score eight goals in his debut season playing as a central midfielder.
Then came the Warriors call-up, which came as a pleasant surprise for Mudimu.
“It’s been fantastic for me to be part of this team. From the very start in Zambia until now, it’s been a good experience. Everyone has been welcoming so that’s always a good start to life as a national team player.
“As a footballer, if it’s not your dream to represent your national team, then I don’t know what else you can dream about. This season at club level, it is the first time we are qualifying for Europe in a while and to be called up for Zimbabwe is a dream come true. A lot of people wish and train hard to have a chance at the position I’m at right now, so I am very grateful,” Mudimu said.
When Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa first saw Mudimu in action at the Four Nations tournament in Zambia, he coveted his big frame and thrust him into defence and later tried him in midfield, but obviously the coach’s mind was made up.
“Mudimu is also very good as a centre-back. His advantage is that he has a big frame and reads the game well,” Chidzambwa declared after the tournament.
Mudimu does not mind being employed as a defender in the Warriors set-up.
“Playing as a central midfielder and then as a centre-back, I feel like it helps as an addition in terms of playing football and being calm on the ball. I am enjoying myself very much in both positions,” he said.
The Cefn Druids star, who has already been charmed by the quality of players in the country, is dreaming of making the World Cup apart from successfully defending the Cosafa Cup.
“The quality is high here, players are fit and strong, even now for the Cosafa I believe we have a strong squad. I am expecting it (Cosafa) to be very hard, but we have got a squad capable so I expect us to win it, nothing more, nothing less.
“I see this team going very far. One day, hopefully, we get to the World Cup, but after Cosafa we get down to Afcon [Africa Cup of Nations]. We want to qualify and go further than the last time. I believe we can. This squad is strong and has depth. I can safely say Afcon and the World Cup are certainly calling,” Mudimu said.
In Wales, Mudimu was nominated for the Sgorio “Goal of the Month” for February, while he is also being touted as possibly the signing of the season in the Welsh Premier League.
Only last week Mudimu made the unofficial JD Welsh Premier League “Team of the Season” for 2017/2018 season voted for by football fans along Bangor City’s Danny Gossett as the two central midfielders.
But he is favourite to make the official list at the official awards, later this month.
It could be an interesting summer for Mudimu, who has reportedly caught the eye of a number of English football league sides, but he is not thinking about changing teams yet.
“Right now, my focus and all my concentration is on Cosafa. I want to play and win for Zimbabwe. I still have one more year on my contract with Cefn Druids, but it’s going to be an interesting summer,” he said.
An interesting summer that could be capped by a triumphal return to his roots, a Cosafa Cup triumph.