Belgian top-flight league club Cercle Brugge celebrated the return of Honour Gombami to first team action last weekend after almost two years on the sidelines following a career-threatening injury.
Gombami, a former Highlanders midfielder, scored in the 4-0 win over Oudenburg as they prepare for the 2011/2012 season and played 45 minutes after coming in as a second-half substitute for Kevin Janssens.
Injured on November 2 2009, there was very little hope of the midfield maestro returning to full fitness, but Cercle kept faith in him and took him through a thorough rehabilitation process that ensured his return when pre-season action started last week.
And now he has 12 months to convince manager Bob Peeters that he has a future in the team as his current deal runs out on June 30 2012.
But judging by the reports in his team’s official website, Gombami retains the loyalty of his teammates and certainly the technical team.
“Honour Gombami seems to be on his way back! Our amiable player from Zimbabwe played a solid second half, putting a lot of pressure on and scoring a brilliant goal after making three players of the opposing team look like salt pillars with some nifty techniques.
“The entire team jumped on Gombami with joy, happy to see him play after a year-and-a-half of recovering from his injury,” the website read.
Gombami was quoted as saying after the injury: “I immediately knew something was definitely wrong: never before in my life have I felt such an excruciating pain. I tore both the meniscus and back cartilage in my right knee. I was taken to hospital and was in pain.
I underwent knee surgery and started a lengthy rehabilitation process in the gym, the very next day. I could hardly move my knee and doing the same exercises over and over again was extremely boring, but I knew there was no alternative.
“The mental part was the worst: I was in so much pain. I sometimes wondered if things would ever be all right again. How long is this going to last, I would ask myself. I had far too much time to think, lying in bed, being at home all the time.”
Gombami (28) played with Vusa Nyoni and Obadiah Tarumbwa at the same club before the Warriors left-back and former Highlanders striker left for Germinal Beerschot in the same league and Paralimni in Cyprus respectively.
Gombami made his debut on October 2 2007 against Harm van Veldhoven after signing on a two-year deal.
He extended the deal by a further three years in 2009 after becoming a regular in then coach Glen de Boeck’s team.
De Boeck is now Nyoni’s manager at Germinal Beerschot.