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Moffat’s bitter-sweet Spanish experience

BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE

THE past few months have not been easy for Spain-based Zimbabwe youth international and Aces Youth Academy graduate Abubakar Moffat (pictured right) due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in that country.

It’s been a both amazing and scary experience since the talented midfielder moved to Spain in January 2019 along with another Zimbabwean starlet, goalkeeper Martin Mapisa.

Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that one day he would play professional football in one of the world’s football powerhouses and it is scary in that Spain recorded over 250 000 Covid-19 cases and over 28 000 deaths.

Moffat spoke on his Covid-19 pandemic experience in the European country.

“It was really scary especially the first days when Covid-19 started, there were more people dying here in Spain, but by God’s grace I’m safe so I just want to thank God for protecting me and my family in this tough time we are in,” the Velez CF star told The Sports Hub from his Spain base.

“I’m happy because it’s getting better, now we can walk outside and go to the beach, among other things. But I have missed football so much that I can’t wait to get back on the pitch,” Moffat added.

After all-football is the reason why Moffat is over 10 000km from his Mufakose home.

The 22-year-old arrived in Spain as a CD Almuñécar in the Spanish Tercera Division which is the fourth-tier competition before moving to struggling Velez CF in the same league.

Velez had a difficult 2020 campaign, losing nine of their 11 games in all competitions, winning once and drawing once before the league was brought to a halt by the novel coronavirus in March.

The team was sitting in 16th place in the 20-team league to narrowly survive relegation. And growing up in Mufakose where he played football in the streets, Moffat knew he would pursue a football career but had no idea that it would take him to Spain.

“I never thought I was going to play football in Spain, never had that in mind, but after all only God knew. But the experience has been amazing. I have learned a lot of things in Spain and experienced a lot of things like how things are done,” said the former Lord Malvern High School student.

“My short-term goal is to play in Segunda Division, which is second division here in Spain, and then Laliga. My long-term goal is to win the UEFA Champions League and Laliga and also to give back as much as I can to Aces Youth Academy in Zimbabwe because they have done a lot of things for me,” he said.

The player, who has capped at the Zimbabwe Under-23 national team level, harbours dreams of doing exploits with the senior team one day.

“I want to represent the senior national team and I want to win the Africa Cup of Nations one day as well as qualify for the World Cup. That is what I want to achieve for Zimbabwe in my career,” Moffat said.

Moffat’s career started at Ring Marovers in Mufakose before he joined Aces Academy where he honed his skills.

Life in Spain has given Moffat one other gift — new language.

“I can speak a little bit of Spanish. I communicate with my friends, that is, my teammates, in Spanish which helps me a lot to improve my Spanish each and every day,” he said.

In a country teeming with global football stars, Moffat is yet to play against any of them, but has had the privilege to watch Barcelona superstars play against Malaga live in a La Liga tie.

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