By Eddie Chikamhi
After dealing with emotional pain, triggered by his mother’s death, Zimbabwe international goalkeeper, Martin Mapisa, believes the sky is now the limit for him in Spain.
The 22-year-old has, of late, been commanding a starting place at Spanish Segunda B side, Zamora.
Mapisa told the Spanish television network, Castille and Leon, he was enjoying his progress in Spanish football, where he is looking to help Zamora FC get promoted into the country’s La Liga 2 this season.
The ultimate dream is to play in the Spanish La Liga.
His team are second in the race for promotion from the third-tier league.
Mapisa, who has largely been in the shadows of experienced Spaniard, Jon Villanueva, since his arrival at Zamora last year, has been trusted with guarding goal since making his debut in the Copa del Rey.
His first appearance was in the 2-1 win over SD Logrones in the first round where they booked a date against La Liga side Villarreal.
Zamora bowed out after succumbing to a 1-4 defeat but Mapisa made history by becoming the first Zimbabwean player to take part in Spanish football’s oldest knockout competition.
“The first time, I was nervous because this was a big team for me. I had never faced a big club like that,” he said.
The 22-year-old Aces Youth Soccer Academy graduate had some brilliant moments in the game, despite his team’s heavy defeat, to the Spanish top-flight side.
The team’s manager David Movilla has repaid Mapisa with more first team action.
The Zimbabwean played the league games, for the first time, when he was entrusted with guarding goal in the team’s last two assignments.
The youthful goalkeeper made an impression with two clean sheets and is now threatening to take over the starting role from Villanueva. “Villanueva is like a brother to me. He is always encouraging me.”
Mapisa could have played again last Sunday but their match against CD Guijuelo was cancelled because of an outbreak of coronavirus in the opposition camp.
“This thing might be over soon and we might come back to the pitch any time. So, we are preparing ourselves, doing exercises,’’ he said.
Mapisa said he endured some painful times as he battled to progress in Spain.
“They were the first team on the log in the Tercera (fourth-tier) division. I knew the team could get promoted because they had no defeat and no draws,” he said.
The death of his mother, who succumbed to cancer in April last year, was a huge blow to him.
The goalkeeper could not come home to pay his last respects because of complications related to air travel at the time.
“I couldn’t visit my country to see my family and stuff,’’ he said. “Even up to now I cannot go.
“I wanted to go to the funeral but then I checked on the flights and found none. That was a very hard time for me.
“For you to succeed you must pass through the hard times.
“It was a blessing from my mum, I think, for us to get promoted. I think it was a blessing for me.
“Every time when we score, I always knee down and look up to the sky for me to give thanks to God so that I keep going places.’’
Mapisa became the first goalkeeper from Zimbabwe to be signed by a Spanish club in 2018.
In just under three years, he has moved up four divisions as he eyes a dance in Spanish La Liga.
He first arrived in Spain in 2018, where he initially joined that country’s seventh-tier club CD Almunecar. The Herald.