FORMER Warriors keeper Tapuwa “Campos” Kapini has challenged national team first choice goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva to prove his critics wrong at the Africa Cup of Nations finals.
The veteran keeper also believes that no player deserves to be treated with kid-gloves.
Kapini sparked widespread debate last September when he questioned Mukuruva’s worth before slamming Warriors coach Callisto Pasuwa’s selection criteria.
In an interview, Kapini stuck to his guns before declaring that it was necessary for a national team goalkeeper to be scrutinised.
Kapini, who plays for Absa Premiership side Highlands Park, is back home for the mid-season break.
“A national team goalkeeper has to be criticised a bit; it is important because that is how we can measure his ability to deal with pressure. Tatenda (Mukuruva) has to go there and prove his critics wrong, myself included. That’s the pressure that comes with being the Warriors’ number one and he has to learn to cope,” said Kapini.
Although the former Highlanders goalkeeper still feels reigning Goalkeeper of the Year Petros Mhari should have been among the three Afcon keepers, he admits that Pasuwa did a fair job in his selection of the final 23.
“Yes, it is awkward to have the Goalkeeper of the Year omitted. We all know Mhari did well and so did Mukuruva, but that is neither here nor there, the coach did a fair job. I have nothing against Tate (Mukuruva), he is a brother because he went to school with my younger brother Issa Sadiki at Prince Edward.
“He usually visits our home and we talk about our goalkeeping trade. Mukuruva is still young and he needs all the support he can get. I say to him ‘boy go there and enjoy, relax and show what you can do’…that’s the pressure that comes with this job,” said Kapini.
Kapini was part of both the 2004 and 2006 Afcon squads and has a unique record at the finals of being the only Zimbabwean keeper who featured in a winning team on both occasions.
In 2004 Zimbabwe beat Algeria 2-1 in the their third group match with Kapini between the sticks and two years later, he was also keeping goal when the Warriors beat Ghana by the same score line, again in the third group match.
What was his secret?
“Nothing much, it is all about the mindset of the players. Remember all the games we won were the last ones, those labelled by some as dead rubbers. We were relaxed when we went into those games and because of that we performed well. So, I urge this group of players to just go there and enjoy, results will come.
“I have faith in this Warriors’ group because they are a talented lot. Back then we had Peter (Ndlovu), Joel Luphahla and Shingi (Kawondera)…players who could change the game in an instant, but I also believe that in Knowledge (Musona) and Khama Billiat this group also has super talent.
“They also have Costa Nhamoinesu, who can direct things, Willard (Katsande) can also lead and Marvellous Nakamba is up there. I believe they have the right quality to progress to the quarterfinals.” — Sportszone.co.zw