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Old habits die hard for Hardlife

By Prince Mushawevato

It is just my physical appearance that has slightly changed but I remain the same Hardlife Zvirekwi, if not better, says the star footballer whose left arm was partially amputated after a horror motor crash early this year.

THROUGH THICK AND THIN . . . CAPS United captain Hardlife Zvirekwi (second from right), who lost his arm in a car accident in Harare, gets a “Get Well Soon” message from his side’s fans during Castle Lager Premiership soccer match against Harare City at the National Sports Stadium last month
THROUGH THICK AND THIN . . . CAPS United captain Hardlife Zvirekwi (second from right), who lost his arm in a car accident in Harare, gets a “Get Well Soon” message from his side’s fans during Castle Lager Premiership soccer match against Harare City at the National Sports Stadium

Zvirekwi cheated death by a whisker but lost the lower part of his hand following a road accident as he was coming from one of his regular night outings in early March.

Most people thought the unfortunate incident would result in the talented footballer abandoning not just football but his unquestionable love for partying and nightlife.

How wrong they were!

The Caps United skipper is stopping at nothing. The footballer has not only managed to defy odds by getting back onto the field of play but has also re-discovered and improved his form in pleasure seeking.

He is making a heavy presence at various pleasure joints around the capital, be it for live music shows or outright clubbing, including visits to Motor Action Sports Club, a joint he was coming from the day he was involved in the road accident.

Zvirekwi’s attendance is not just for making up numbers, the footballer enjoys himself.

Could this be a case of old habits dying hard?

In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mail Society, the gifted footballer said the accident made him a better person.

“My lifestyle has not really changed, I am living my life the way I have always lived – unapologetic and making the most of each day I am granted as we all should,” said Zvirekwi.

“Sometimes we just have to overcome our fears. Being an indoor person is not a good thing, you need to go out, refresh and meet other people. Most of the new things we learn in life come from our outings with friends.”

The well-spoken athlete is not wallowing in self-pity and does not wish the public to feel sorry for him. Probably by carrying on with his life as before, he is trying to make a bold statement in as far as sympathy is concerned.

“This was a life-changing experience but I have no regrets. I believe in God, myself, my family and friends. I will make something positive come from all of it,” said Zvirekwi.

“I am the active, healthy, happy person I am because of my faith in God, my belief in myself, and all of the support from my family, friends and even perfect strangers. Life is what you make it. You can choose to sit around and feel sorry for yourself or you can become an active participant. My choice is obvious. I will thrive.”Most accident victims usually suffer from vehophobia (a fear of driving) that can be caused by post-traumatic stress disorder after an accident, but not Zvirekwi.

“I drive myself. I’m not afraid of taking risks. Two weeks after healing I had already learnt to drive myself around and obviously I drive an automatic car,” he revealed, adding, “There are some adjustments that I am still making so that I can do things for myself. There are things that noone can do for you and I have to find ways of coping.”

The defender further highlighted that he is not going to stop revelry anytime soon since his DNA is fun composed.

However, he said he needs to so some adjustments on his partying lifestyle.

“I like going out with my teammates and I go to braai spots and any other happening joint just to refresh after work and will continue doing so. I am still enjoying myself, I’m still me. The most important thing in life is to learn. We should never stop learning, especially from our mistakes.

“I have learnt from my mistakes.“There are things that happen that you don’t have control over, especially when you are on the road, you don’t have control of the person driving the next car, so the only thing you have control over is you. When you are driving your car you just have to be cautious, putting all your concentration on your vehicle and the road,” said Zvirekwi.

He has been working flat-out to counter deficiencies that have been created by the amputation.

“Most people feel sorry for me, some are devastated, heartbroken, troubled but I always tell them these things do happen in life and what we need to do is not to keep holding on to the past, we need to move on.

“We must learn from the past and rectify going forward. By the Grace of God, I am here on earth and surrounded by many loving individuals who support me in everything I do. Different thoughts come all the time but I always remind myself that life goes on and it is up to myself and how I want it to go bearing in mind that one can do anything they put their mind to,” said the soft-spoken footballer.

The tale of Hardlife’s accident and recovery sounds like a script from one of Hollywood movies. Apart from his undying love for gaiety, the footballer is back onto the park and playing for his team (Caps United) barely four months after the horrific accident.

“I have to work extra hard to compensate for what is no longer there in terms of my game. I have been working for four months after my accident to try and get to know how to tackle, to get to know how to get up really quick, to get to know how to do the agility parts and also to know how to get into physical contact with opponents.

“I have been training with my coaches and team-mates and it is helping. Four months after the accident I am back on the pitch doing what I love most. Some things might be uncomfortable at first, but it is important to fight so that you do not miss the opportunity to get back to some of the activities you used to do before the amputation,” he said.

The footballer says he is ready to be an advocate, educating and raising awareness on the dangers on our roads.

“I am a living testimony of the dangers on our roads. The public needs to learn from people like me and others with similar experiences. This will help them understand the importance of road safety messages that are always preached by the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe.

“Accidents do happen when you are not careful on the road. If there is room for me to work with the Traffic Safety Council, I am willing to do so,” said Zvirekwi. Sunday Mail