Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Deco bounces back from career-ending injury

By Ricky Zililo

Five months after being told by his doctor that he will never play football again, midfielder Danny ‘Deco’ Phiri made a remarkable return to the field on Saturday when his Golden Arrows side beat Maritzburg United 2-1 in a KwaZulu Natal derby in Durban on Saturday.

DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 11: Danny Phiri of golden Arrows during the Absa Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Bloemfontein Celtic at Princess Magogo Stadium on February 11, 2017 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – FEBRUARY 11: Danny Phiri of golden Arrows during the Absa Premiership match between Golden Arrows and Bloemfontein Celtic at Princess Magogo Stadium on February 11, 2017 in Durban, South Africa. (Photo by Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images)

Phiri picked up a career threatening knee injury on August 21 during Arrows’ 1-2 league defeat to Black Leopards at Ellis Park Stadium.

Phiri played the last 15 minutes in Saturday’s victory that was made special by his countryman and teammate Knox Mutizwa who scored the winner as Arrows came from a goal down to collect maximum points.

Warriors left-back Divine Lunga also played for Arrows.

Phiri described his return as a “miracle” after enduring emotional and psychological battles during his time on the sidelines recovering.

“I’ve just endured five months of a real battle. No words can describe how I feel following this recovery. You know this is a miracle because there were times I had given up playing. It was a physiological and emotional battle for me because I was asking myself if my career was really over. When I got injured, I was told I wouldn’t play again by the doctor, but here I am making a return,” said Phiri.

And just how did the 32-year-old veteran defensive midfielder take the news of a possible halt to his career at the time the doctor broke the news to him.

“It was bad hearing that and I lost hope for a while, but the coach was always calling me, giving me reason to fight.

He always encouraged me to be positive. My family and friends tried to keep me company and that sort of kept me away from following football as I directed all my focus on getting well,” said Phiri.

Now that he has fully recovered, Phiri’s focus is claiming a starting place in the team.

Once a vital cog in the Warriors’ set-up, Phiri missed the back-to-back Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Algeria due to the injury.

“I want to continue fighting for a first team place. It won’t be easy but I will be taking it a game at a time,” said the former Chicken Inn, Bantu Rovers and Railstars hardman. The Chronicle

Comments