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Knox: Fox in the box

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Fourteen goals in an entire season is not a statistic that necessarily turns heads. But Bosso striker Knox Mutizwa, the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League 2015 season top goalscorer has grabbed all the attention and has got the Bosso fans eating from the palm of his hands.

BY KEVIN MAPASURE

His arrival on the big stage was low key, but his departure from the local league could be a sad, but not surprising one. After he made so much noise, South African side Bidvest Wits noticed and it may prove to be a turning point in his life and career.

He rose from a player, probably not sure of where he best fitted playing different positions to an irresistible striker whose name gets onto the Bosso team sheet even before that of the goalkeeper.

What is amazing about a player that was almost deemed excess to requirements, is that he achieved his goal tally in 17 matches.
Another intriguing part of his story is that playing as a point person for Bosso came only as a stop-gap measure.

Then Highlanders coach Bongani Mafu was short of strikers due to injuries and he had a random perusal of the manpower he had available and it clicked to him that Mutizwa, who was playing as right winger at that time, had played as a striker at the juniors.

Nine matches had lapsed in the Castle Lager Premier League before Mutizwa was reinvented subsequently reigniting a flame that has never looked like extinguishing.

Successful strikers by their nature are usually of imposing stature who use their bodies to hustle and bustle for space before firing home.

There has been an indulgence on that type of player who plays alone upfront and holds the ball till the arrival of some form of help.

Knox Mutizwa (in front ) celebrates his opener against Dynamos at Rufaro Stadium on Sunday

Mutizwa does not possess such attributes and at first impression he does not strike you as a player that can be successful in the modern game as a striker, more so outside the country where size really matters.

Yet he has proven that he is a striker of sublime skill who can play either as a lone front man or in tandem with a more robust character.

This season Highlanders possessed so much threat with the combination of Obadiah Tarumbwa, with more robust attributes, and Mutizwa’s silky touch.

That threat was not necessarily diminished when Mutizwa was asked to occupy the front line on his own.

Mutizwa is dangerous with the ball, but he does so much without it he causes lots of damage when he exploits pockets of space splitting defenders.

He showed this season that he is a striker of instinct who knows where the pass will be placed and intelligently loses even the tightest and cleverest of defenders.

Highlanders have had successful strikers in the past and Zenzo Moyo features prominently on the list of some of the best.
Moyo is a good example of what Mutizwa is not, yet the latter is showing so much promise that at some point his numbers will be as good as the former’s records.

Mutizwa possesses two lethal weapons, pace and precision, even though he complements that with skill and while he is not blessed with some much height he is still good in the air.

He had already given up on being the striker he had wanted to be as a young player with his small body stature proving a limitation.

“I played as a striker at the juniors and when I was promoted as a senior in 2011 the coaches said I did not have the right height and I was too small to be a striker,” Mutizwa said.

“But I had played as a striker at the juniors, I had to convert to a right link position and it is only this season that the coach (Mafu) asked me to fill in as a striker and it has helped me a lot, I have made a good impact in that position. Even playing as a lone striker I use my pace and I am also good in the air.”

But he could find himself in a slightly different role if and when he moves to Wits.

“At the trials I was playing as a number 10 and I had played that position in the national team so in my view I did well.”
Whatever team he turns out for in the New Year, he is looking forward with optimism for a bigger harvest of goals.

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