Where are they now? Steven Matsaira

Steven Matsaira is one of the most-respected names in Zimbabwean soccer. Although he did not live his dream of being one of the longest-serving footballers in the country, the effect he had before injury stopped his career in 2006 was telling.

Steven Matsaira
Steven Matsaira

The Kwekwe-born former star broke into professional football when he played for Tanganda FC in 1992, at the age of 20 years. He became a regular in their first team for two seasons, before a short stint at Bulawayo-based Zimbabwe Saints in 1995.

His good qualities were however, exposed when he joined Kwekwe-based then PSL outfit, Ziscosteel, where he got all the exposure he needed to assert himself.

“There was good soccer in the country back then and Kwekwe was emerging as a talent hotspot. I really enjoyed my time there, with both Ziscosteel and Lancashire Steel, who I joined a few years later,” said the 41-year-old former star.

“It was at Lancashire where we had a very powerful team that made easy work for many of the so-called big guns each time they visited our home ground. The club always ended the league season in a very respectable position and that earned us a lot of respect. We also did well in a number of local cup competitions.”

Many would remember Matsaira as the steely left back who gave many a talented winger a tough time each time they came against any of his sides. He was very good in marking, but it was his runs up and down the left flank that caused nightmares for his opposition, his crosses doing a lot of damage in the opposition box.

No sooner had he joined Lancashire than he established a deadly combination with such starts like Willard Khumalo, Luke Jukulile Petros, Albert Mbano, Petros Sibanda, Moses Mwafulirwa, Langton Tifari, Wisdom Simba and Simon Chipunza. His great talent and constant top form saw Matsaira get a national team call-up to the senior national team in 1998, where he rubbed shoulders with other yesteryear sporting heroes like Peter and Adam Ndlovu.

He left Lancashire alongside a number of his former teammates at the steelmakers to join cross-province emerging powerhouse, Shabanie Mine in 2001. His discipline saw him become the club’s deputy captain, where he was second to Thomas Makwasha in only his debut season at the then just-promoted club.

“Every player who played under guidance of Moses Chunga would tell you that the man is the best coach in the land,” he said of his coach at Shabanie.

“He made me a complete player. He had great respect for every player and treated everyone fairly, regardless of where they came from and that made us want to die for him on the pitch. Under his guidance we would easily beat any team at home, including the giants, both at our Maglas Stadium home ground and on the road. Personally, I grew as a player and made a mark for myself in the PSL, where we became one of the deciders of where the league trophy went.”

Matsaira’s good account at club level saw him voted the best 2002 player for the “Chinda Boys” and it came as no surprise when he later captained the side. “When I suffered a right foot injury seven years ago, I decided it was time for me to quit the game because I could not cope any longer.”

Matsaira is currently a consultant at Bureau De Change in Johannesburg. “My soccer career was over and I thought of venturing into something else, hence the day job I am doing now.”

Post published in: Football

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