Life may show you several ups and downs but the real champion stands still. Unfazed by what he went through, he tries to bring normalcy by doing what he loves doing. Meet Zimbabwean footballer Hardlife Zvirekwi, who at first glance, looks like any other member of his football team as he dribbles fast down the wing, but just last year he lost an arm in a car crash.
Once a regular in the national side, Zvirekwi’s playing days looked over when his left arm was badly crushed as his car smashed into trees while he tried to avoid a speeding vehicle that cut across him.
But he has fought his way back to full health – and back into Zimbabwe’s domestic top-flight CAPS United team.
“It put me on the sidelines when I least expected it. It really had an impact on my career at a time I was looking forward to another great season,” he told a news agency.
“Many people thought that was the end of my career.”
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Zvirekwi, who will be closely following his former teammates in the Africa Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt, said he had to learn new ways to play the game after losing the limb. “Football is a contact sport and there are times when you need both hands to do a hands-off and to balance,” he said.
“It was difficult to learn to play in my new condition. It took me time to re-adjust and know how to balance, know how to tackle, know how to fall. It took me five months to learn how to do all these things.
“The doctors, the physiotherapist and fitness trainer helped me through the process until I learned the concept of the ‘new me’.”
He doesn’t wear a prosthetic limb and maintains a strict exercise routine to keep his rehabilitation on track.
Now aged 32, he plays right-back and captains the Harare-based CAPS United side.
In 2016 he was voted Zimbabwe’s best footballer after leading his club to the championship, and he played nearly 70 times for the national side.