By Nigel Matongorere
Former Zimbabwe youth international Marshall Munetsi says he had to be patient before cementing his place at South African giants Orlando Pirates.
The 21-year-old from Mabvuku was not in coach Micho’s plans when the 2017-18 season started and was not even registered in the league.
Munetsi had thought that this was going to be his breakthrough season at Pirates after returning to Mayfair following a successful loan spell at Baroka FC the previous season.
The former Blue Rangers and Friendly Academy midfielder had been signed by the Sea Robbers following a trial.
However, upon his return from Baroka, where he largely impressed in a holding midfield role for Kgoloko Thobejane’s side, he found Kjell Jonevret the coach who had sanctioned his loan move gone.
Winning over a new coach was never going to be easy and for the first few months, Munetsi had to be play the waiting game.
“There were a lot of things happening behind the scenes and I found myself not playing and not even registered,” Munetsi tells the Daily News.
“After a successful time at Baroka, I thought I would come back at Pirates and fit in the team straight away but football does not work like that.
“I continued training hard with the team and I knew that my time would eventually come. What was important was for me to remain ready to take my opportunity when it would eventually arrive.”
At some point, he contemplated another loan move this time to Ajax Cape Town where he would be surrounded by family.
“I was almost headed to Ajax and because I have a lot of family and friends in Cape Town,” he says.
“I had enjoyed my time at FC Cape Town where I still have a lot of friends there. My brother also stays there as well.
“Before my mother and sister moved to Portugal with work, they also used to stay in Cape Town but I decided to remain at Pirates and fight for my place.”
Munetsi’s fortunes at Mayfair would vastly improve at the start of this year as the Sea Robbers finally included him on their roster for the current season.
Since then he has featured in five league matches in Micho’s side while at the weekend he featured in the team that beat Ajax Cape Town 2-0 in the Nedbank Cup last 16 round at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
“I had to work hard and the coaches could see that I was pushing for a place in the team,” Munetsi says.
“With the grace of God, I was able to get my chance and everything is looking good at the moment. At the moment I want to continue improving my game because South Africa is only a stepping stone.
“I want to go to Europe and with hard work and the grace of God, it is very possible.”
Now that he has broken through into the Ghosts’ starting line up, Munetsi, who can operate naturally across the backline or in midfield, has been exposed to the weight of expectation from the club’s multitudes of fans.
“When you play for Pirates, every game is like you are going to war,” he says.
“This badge is very heavy and if you are to wear it, you must be prepared to carry the burden of the supporters.
“This is a club which is over 80 years and comes with a lot of history so it shows you the heritage Pirates has.” DailyNews