BY DANIEL NHAKANISO
HIS Spanish third-tier league side Zamora FC might have lost 4-1 in their Copa Del Rey second round encounter against La Liga giants Villarreal, but Warriors goalkeeper Martin Mapisa (pictured) has been earning the plaudits after a standout performance in goal.
The 22-year-old Aces Youth Soccer Academy graduate produced an eye-catching performance despite his team’s heavy defeat against inform Spanish giants, who are currently fourth in Laliga.
It was Mapisa’s second consecutive start of the season after guarding goal in Zamora’s Copa Del Rey first round win against fellow Segunda División B side SD Logrones in December to book a date against the Unai Emery-coached Villarreal side.
Mapisa has been an understudy to Spanish goalkeeper Jon Villanueva, but on Tuesday he showed that he could soon be challenging for a starting berth at the Segunda B Division side after pulling off a string of impressive saves, some from point-blank range to ensure his side did not lose by an even bigger margin.
His display has been earning him glowing reviews in the Spanish media with the Zamora24horas newspaper describing him as the club’s best player during the encounter.
The publication also suggested that Mapisa had shown that he is now ready to challenge the club’s first-choice goalkeeper.
“Without a doubt, the player who claimed the most was goalkeeper Martin Mapisa. The Zimbabwean goalkeeper made a string of superb saves, showing that he can challenge first-choice goalkeeper Jon Villanueva,” wrote in the newspaper.
“After he barely had to intervene against SD Logroñés in the first round, in the clash against Villarreal it was the opposite. Mapisa made five key saves in the first half to avoid a heavy defeat by the Yellow Submarine. In fact, the goalkeeper was acclaimed by the fans, recognising his good work. In the second half he made a mistake that cost Zamora the third goal, but that did not cloud a great match by the goalkeeper, who with his good performance opens a real competition in the goal,” Zamora24horas said.
The highly rated goalkeeper attributed his solid performance to the words of encouragement and faith shown in him shown by his coach David Movilla.
“It was a very good experience for me because it was my first time to face one of the biggest clubs in La Liga and I managed to work very hard and tried to do my job as usual,” Mapisa told Standardsport yesterday.
“Before the game someone who believes in me came to me and said something that motivated me, I think that’s why I did my best because he showed me that I can do anything without any reason… that was my coach. He told me that “don’t worry about anything or that we are playing Villarreal, go and play your normal game and enjoy it.”
Mapisa said his target is to continue improving on his game and ultimately break into the Warriors squad.
“Well, my target is always to be better than I was before and to work for the team, for us to compete in this new league we are playing. I also hope that I will earn a call-up to the Warriors squad. I believe I have improved a lot, to be honest. I believe since I came here to Spain, I have learnt a lot,” he said.