Antonio living his DeMbare dream
By Munyaradzi Madzokere
Ahead of the new season, Harare giants Dynamos made significant investment into the senior team, bringing in some of the top names in the local game.
But when local football finally returned with the Chibuku Super Cup tournament, it was an unknown teenager, a schoolboy by the name Bill Antonio, who was conspicuous by his constant presence in the starting line-up.
The 18-year-old winger, an Upper Sixth student at Prince Edward School, has completely looked the part in the Dynamos strip and even provided a crucial assist in Dynamos’ narrow 1-0 victory over ZPC Kariba at the beginning of the month.
But away from professional football, Antonio has to assume responsibilities at school where he is a prefect, captain of the football and athletics teams as well as do his homework and assignments.
Antonio opened up on his recent rise to fame at arguably the biggest club in the country and how he managed to fulfill one of his career objectives.
“Playing for Dynamos at this age is not only a dream come true but also an objective achieved on my part. I had it in my objectives that in my last year in high school, I should play in the Premier Soccer League and here I am. So I would say it’s both a dream come true and an objective done,” he said in a wide-ranging interview with The Sports Hub.
“Playing for Dynamos is a huge task, which I took with great honour and respect because it’s the most successful club in the country and among the best in Africa.
“It’s not an easy job and it comes with a lot of responsibilities.”
Antonio is not the only teenager in the Dynamos squad. There is also Luke Musikiri and Hamilton Gomba.
The boy, who hails from Dzivarasekwa, is also a sprinter and is the captain of the school team.
But his love for football has eclipsed his love for athletics.
“I love football and I like athletics. I am inspired by many local, regional and international footballers who have achieved big things in their careers such as Kaka, Samuel Eto’o, Tino Kadewere and my role model Antoine Griezmann. They made me fall in love with football
“As for athletics, I didn’t post good times and also I have not made it into the Zimbabwean team, which is the reason why I prefer football. I spend much of my time engaged in football rather than athletics,” he said.
“Balancing the three (school, athletics and football) is one of the most difficult jobs I have done so far and being captain of soccer and athletics teams adds to the pressure.
“God is helping me, so is my family, my friends, my teachers and my teammates. I believe I can excel in all areas.”
Antonio is also an Arts student at Prince Edward.
And being a football star may have changed Antonio’s relationships in one way or the other, but the teenager reckons he remains the same person at home and at school.
“My friends and schoolmates are my first supporters. They all motivate me on and off the field,
“I do really appreciate that. Our friendship is still the same, I’ve not changed for my boys and we always stay that way,” he said.
“They say home is best, so Prince Edward School and the Dzivarasekwa community will always be my home.”
The DeMbare teenage sensation says both his parents were athletes and believes he inherited his multi-athletic talents from them.
However, his football career began at Gillingham Primary School in Dzivarasekwa and he went on to join Diamond Eagles Academy and later Dzivarasekwa Football Academy.
Prince Edward Academy then signed him in 2016.
He shares a funny story about when he had a dream in other sports apart from athletics and football.
“I had a dream to become a cricketer after watching Hashim Amla and also a tennis player because of Novak Djokovic, but then the school I attended had no adequate equipment for these sports,” he revealed.
“My ultimate dream is to play the Champions League at a big club in Europe.” The Standard