Veteran striker Chipo Tsodzo refuses to go away.
And he intends to make a return to the Castle Premiership with a bang as he seeks to lead his new side Quelaton to victory against Highlanders at Barbourfields Stadium on Sunday.
Highlanders are unbeaten this season and Tsodzo has warned the log leaders that they would underrate him at their own peril.
Tsodzo (36) is probably one of the oldest players in Zimbabwe’s top-flight football and yesterday he said he was confident of Quelaton’s survival in the Premiership, calling on the players to have unity of purpose to achieve that feat.
Jack Roller, as the veteran forward is popularly known in football circles, is one of the eight players that Quelaton registered in the mid-season transfer window period in their quest to survive relegation.
“Age is just a number. Ryan Giggs is still playing at 38 and I am still raring to go and if Highlanders think I am down and out, they should watch out on Sunday. I have been training as a striker for three weeks with Quelaton but I don’t know what combinations the coaches will want to use me in if I am selected,” he said.
Tsodzo returns to the top flight this year after Zimbabwe Saints’ brief spell in the Premiership last season.
“I am not quite sure if I will be playing on Sunday. That will depend on the coaches, but I believe there is still hope. The boys need someone with experience who will uplift them.
“That is how they need to be encouraged. But most importantly it is hard work that needs to be done if we are to survive relegation,” he said.
He was retained by relegated Chikwata, where he played for the first half of the season before he was lured to the Tawanda Ruzive-owned Quelaton, which was promoted into top-flight football this year.
“I have been at Zimbabwe Saints as player/assistant coach this year and I think I still have what it takes to play in the Premiership. It is not my first time playing for Quelaton but I think we have to work hard in the next three matches that will decide which direction we are taking,” he added.
Tsodzo is not new in the Premier Soccer League after having played for Mwana Africa in the 2006 and 2007 seasons in the Caf Confederation Cup, before joining Hwange in Division One in 2008.
He was part of the coal miners’ squad that got them back into the Premiership in 2009, scoring 20 goals for Hwange behind the top-goal scorer Charles Sibanda, who banged in 26.
Sibanda is now at FC Platinum.
Tsodzo, however, did not venture into the Premiership with Chipangano but instead joined Quelaton for the first half of the season in 2009 in Division One before Madinda Ndlovu called him to Highlanders for the second half of the season where he played into 2010.
He crossed over to Chikwata and was part of the team that bundled Highlanders out of the $1 million Mbada Diamonds Cup in a 6-5 penalty lottery in Hwange last year.
Quelaton, with only eight points from 15 matches, play Bosso on Sunday before hosting Black Mambas and then travel to Harare for a clash against reigning champions Dynamos.
They held Bosso to a 1-1 draw at BF on July 15.
Quelaton have registered new players — goalkeeper Tapiwanashe Marime, Simbarashe Manwere, Peace Tshuma, Thulani Moyo, Tatenda Magaisa, Ndumiso Khanye and Andrew Sidambe.