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Warriors' keeper Mapisa set for historic La Liga move

by Staff reporter
06 Apr 2022 at 05:25hrs | Views
FRINGE Warriors goalkeeper Martin "Neuer'' Mapisa could make history by becoming the first Zimbabwean player to sign for a Spanish La Liga team following reports two clubs from the division are chasing after his signature.

Mapisa, whose idol is Germany's top shot-stopper Manuel Peter Neuer, has been making some steady progress in the European country playing for lower league teams since arriving in Spain three years ago.

He is currently on a half-season loan at UD Llanera from Zamora CF which expires on June 30.

And the towering goalkeeper, a product of the Aces Youth Soccer Academy, has attracted interests from at least two clubs in the Spanish top-flight.

The Herald understands the 23-year-old goalie has been on the radar of some top La Liga clubs who believe the Zimbabwean has vast potential which can be nurtured and two of them have since expressed their desire to take him aboard.

Although ACES Youth Soccer Academy director, Nigel Munyati, refused to give more details, he confirmed a deal was in the oven pertaining to the historic move.

"Mapisa (Martin) hopefully can secure a move into one of the La Liga clubs this coming transfer period but unfortunately I cannot divulge more on the goings-on.

"I am very happy and everyone is excited to see one of our own products attracting the interests of such big teams in world football," said Munyati.

"It is so inspiring to the up-and-coming players who should know that some of their mates are attracting world attention and it is up to them as well to prove their worth as well. Opportunities are always there."

Mapisa has started five straight games for UD Llanera after rejoining the team following a month-long absence when he was with the Warriors at this year's African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Upon his return from AFCON, the soft-spoken goalkeeper sat on the bench in the matches against Arosa CS, UP Langreo, UC Ceares and Salamanca as Viti Gonzalez was given the nod in those four games.

But once the Zimbabwean got an opportunity against Pontevera in UD Llanera's 1-0 win, he has never looked back and has been guarding the posts for the past five games, keeping three clean sheets in an impressive run that has seen his team winning three games, drawing once and losing once.

Mapisa has conceded just three goals in those five matches.

The Zimbabwean goalkeeper is being touted as the future Warriors number one although he hasn't been given much game-time in the several occasions he has been called into the senior national team.

He was one of the only three players who never got a chance to play at the AFCON finals in Cameroon along with striker David Moyo and defender Alec Mudimu.

FC Platinum's Petros Mhari was entrusted with guarding the goal in Zimbabwe's opening two matches against Senegal and Malawi which the Warriors lost before Talbert Shumba got the nod to play in that position in the dead-rubber final group match against Guinea.

While Mapisa is angling for a move to a La Liga team, his former Aces Youth Soccer Academy teammate, Aboubakar Moffat, who is also in Spain, is expected to sign for a top Belgian club.

Munyati's academy has forged close ties with the new kid on the block, Real Betis Academy Zimbabwe.

And last weekend the two nurseries ‘‘traded blows'' in Borrowdale with Real Betis Academy director, Gerald Sibanda, emphasising on the need to enhance junior development.

"We look forward to a time when we can have organised junior development leagues because without that you cannot expect our football to prosper and flourish at senior level.

"We need to have a proper development system and have players in place that you can trace from Under-15s to the senior level.

"We used to do that in the past. You could tell where Peter Ndlovu was during that time, where he was training and things like that and you know where our football was during that time as compared to now.

"But the same cannot be said now so we need to develop a system that is organised and well supported in all aspects," said Sibanda.

Source - The Herald