BY TERRY MADYAUTA
THE might have barely two years’ experience in top-flight football, but Chapungu speed merchant Ian Nyoni has looked the part in the league so far this season, which has made some of the country’s top clubs stand up and notice.
Earlier in the season, Nyoni single-handedly destroyed one of the title favourites CAPS United at the National Sports Stadium with a mighty display of sheer pace and wizardry, that made Phineas Bamusi and Gabriel Nyoni, also known for their speed, look pedestrian.
Nyoni’s early season exploits thrust Chapungu to the summit of the local league at one point, but a dip in form has seen the club slide down the log standings.
With five goals and six assists for the airmen, Nyoni is undeniably one of this term’s best performing players and could possibly gate-crash the soccer star calendar at the end of the
Interestingly, it been 12 years since Cuthbert Malajila appeared on the soccer star calendar for Chapungu.
Realistically, winning the championship seems to be a too ambitious endeavour for Chapungu considering how they have been blowing hot and cold in this campaign, but the 24-year-old
winger believes an individual award is still within his reach.
The Kwekwe-born winger has been exciting so much that all traditional big teams CAPS United, Dynamos and Highlanders have registered interest in his services.
However, he is keeping his feet firmly on the ground.
“I know there are a number of clubs that want me, but at the moment I have decided to stay at Chapungu. Moving during the mid-season can affect form because adapting to a new club needs
time,” he said.
“For me, this season’s target is to win something, hopefully to be selected among the season’s best 11 players, which is my childhood wish.
“Obviously, we play as a team, guided by the club’s objectives, but getting an individual recognition will make it all look better. I know that it has been long since a player from
Chapungu made that achievement but I believe I have what it takes to end that drought spell,” he said.
His exploits and stunning performances triggered a stampede for his signature during the mid-season transfer window, but the disciplined winger opted to stay put at the Rodwell
Pondo, as Nyoni is affectionately known among his peers, believes he is ready for a new challenge away from Chapungu.
He said: “It is every player’s wish to play at high-profile clubs locally with hopes of breaking into foreign leagues, which are better paying.
“For the time that I have spent in lower leagues and at Chapungu, I believe I that am ready to move and face a new and even tougher challenge elsewhere. By God’s grace, if I reach
next season, I will be open to move for newer and challenging tasks.”
Nyoni joined Chapungu last season, then under the guidance of Tendai Chikuni, and has become a vital cog at the club.
He began made his professional debut in 2012 at the now-defunct Lancashire Steel in the Central Region Soccer League, at a time he was completing his Advanced Level studies at Manunure
High School in Kwekwe.
He also played for several Division One teams that include Silo United, Ivan Hoe Mine and ZPC Munyati, where he was scouted by Chikuni in 2017.
Chapungu coach Dhlakama believes Nyoni has been their best player this season.
“I am not fond of comparing my players, but I also have to admit that Pondo has been outstanding for them. He has been our game changer, his contribution has been immense,” said