BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
COSTA Nhamoinesu might have called time on his international football early this year, but his profile at Czech Republic football giants AC Sparta Prague continues to grow.
He was recently honoured as the longest serving member at the European club.
The 33-year-old former Warriors defender is the longest serving player in the AC Sparta Prague dressing room having been with the club for the last six years, earning himself legendary status along the way.
During his lengthy stay at the club, the Zimbabwean star has enjoyed success, winning the Czech First League title in his first season, Czech Cup and Czech Super Cup in addition to being voted the best foreign player in the Czech Republic.
Since joining from the 33-time Czech champions from Polish top tier side Zagłbie Lubin in 2013, Nhamoinesu has worked under 10 different coaches, including the current boss Václav Jílek.
The 43 year-old Jílek, who took over as head coach in May, entrusted Nhamoinesu with the captaincy on a full-time basis after the player had initially been named stand-in captain for the remainder of last season following the departure of the late Josef Sural to Turkish side Alanyaspor in January.
Reflecting on his career at Sparta Prague in a wide ranging interview with Czech Television (eská Televize) last week, Nhamoinesu spoke of the honor to be handed the captaincy at one of the most successful clubs in central Europe.
“It is a club with a great history and being a captain means the coaches see something in me here,” Nhamoinesu said.
“I’ve seen three different squads,” he recalls. “When we won the title, we had a very good group and we got on very well on and off the pitch. We were all friends, and we were together in the evenings after the matches and everyone was united.”
Nhamoinesu said after a period of underachievement for Sparta Prague, which has seen them going for three seasons without winning the Czech First League title or any other silverware, he believes the current squad has the ability to rediscover their past glory.
“Now we have a new generation of players and I think we are returning to the top,” he said.
Sparta Prague will, however, have to wait a little longer to end their league title drought as they are currently in fifth place on the Czech First League log after 17 matches and 19 points behind leaders Slavia Praha.
It has also been a frustrating period for Nhamoinesu in recent weeks as he has been struggling with injury, which has limited him to just three league appearances this season, scoring one goal.