By Simbarashe Musaki
FORMER Caps United FC attacking midfielder, Musset Zengeni was renowned for his long-range strikes and an ability to get past a cluster of defenders with ease and pace.
He was often described by football pundits as a midfield elegant, dribbling wizard, and a good ball controller.
On his day, he could not only dismantle the opposition with his trickery, but also easily boss the game with lively performances that left opponents chasing shadows.
The BusinessConnect in its quest to enrich and nourish the country’s football vault as well as honouring our genuine soccer stars hooked up with Zengeni at his Chitungwiza residence and narrated his rise to fame.
Zengeni, a player who exploded on the football scene in 2004 as part of an awesome and successful Green Machine team was born on August 7, 1985, and attended St Aidan’s Primary School and Seke 1 High School in Chitungwiza.
His football career started at primary school after getting inspiration from his nephew, Caps United FC legend, Steven Chikodzi, who was one of the country’s finest defenders.
In 1995, he joined Darryn Tornadoes FC Under 10 team under the mentorship of Kudakwashe Masaraure and moved to Caps United FC juniors coached by the late Gishon ‘Gizha’ Ntini in 1998.
He became a regular feature in his secondary school team from 1999-2002, playing in the first team together with his best friend Costa Nhamoinesu and Heavens Chinyama and their school reached the NASH Coca Cola finals in 2002.
“I was inspired to play soccer by my nephew Stephen Chikodzi. In 1995, I joined Darryn’T juniors and moved to Caps United juniors in 1998. At secondary school, I also played in the same team with Chinyama and Costa Nhamoinesu,” he said.
In 2002, he was signed by Division 2 side Con-Plant FC under the tutelage of Darlington Dodo and his former school teacher Mr Chirapa.
In 2003, as his career blossomed, he joined Division 1 side, Caps United Academy FC made up of Under 19 players such as Oscar Machapa, Lionel Mtizwa and Takesure Chiragwi among others.
That same year, Zengeni was elevated to Caps United FC first team then coached by Rahman ‘Rush’ Gumbo and Charles Mhlauri, but he started playing regularly in the team after a number of senior players deliberately failed to return from the club’s United Kingdom tour.
His premiership debut was an elimination Independence Cup game against Dynamos FC at National Sports Stadium and he impressed winning the hearts of Makepekepe fans with his neat touches.
During his heydays, he gave some truly superb performances for that all-conquering Green Machine team and helped them to win the PSL title twice consecutively in 2004 and 2005 and the 2005 Buddie Cup.
“In 2002, I joined Con-Plant FC which was in Division 2. In 2003, I returned to Caps United playing for Caps United Academy and was promoted to first-team that year. I’m proud of myself because I was part of the team which won the league championship in 2004 and 2005,” said Zengeni.
In 2005, the reliable and dependable Zengeni played for the Nelson Matongorere and Phillip Mbofana coached Under 20 national team together with the likes of Elvis ‘Tsano’ Meleka, Washington ‘Sekuru Gudo’ Arubi, Ronald Sengu Gilbert Mapemba and Onismo Bhasera.
The team was victorious, reaching the SADC Zone 6 games finals and won the bronze medal at the South Africa Vodacom Under 20 Tournament.
Unfortunately, his blooming career was cut short in 2008 at the age of 22 after suffering a right knee injury, while playing a ‘money game’ during the off-season.
In 2009, he went for a successful knee operation in South African and was prescribed a rest and recovering period which he gave a blind eye to and rushed to sign a contract with Shooting Stars FC in 2010, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Tofirei ‘Hohodza’ Sambo, Elliot ‘MuSalad’ Matsika, Mtshumayeli Moyo and Muchineripi Muneri, among others.
He hung his football boots in 2010 after injuring his other leg in a friendly match against Renaissance FC at Hellenic Sports Club.
Currently, Zengeni is the head coach of the Costa Nhamoinesu owned Costa Sports Academy founded in 2020.
By Simbarashe Musaki