WHILE Covid-19 has delayed his Premiership debut for Triangle, Mutare-born utility player, Lincoln Mangayira is not losing heart about the setback and is keeping his eyes on the ball.
The local football season was set to kick-off in March before being put on hold following the national lockdown put in place to curb the pandemic.
With clubs hoping that the game would resume in the near future, they devised ways of keeping their players occupied through individualised training programmes which were monitored online by the technical teams.
Predictably, the seven-month lay-off has seen some footballers slacken on these sessions owing to the lengthy inactivity away from the pitch.
But for Mangayira, it is a different ball game as he studiously continues with the workout routine.
The gangly defender switched to the Lowveld side from Mutare City Rovers early this year and is keeping his fingers crossed for a sweet season with the Sugar-Sugar Boys when the game eventually resumes.
“Although there is no local competitive football action to talk about at the moment, I have settled well at my new club. The situation brought about by coronavirus, however, has been turbulent because of its unprecedented nature. We have to make sure that it is handled effectively by both sports persons and the general populace.
“As for me, I am a disciple of sports science and strictly adhere to its major tenets of managing one’s lifestyle as an athlete. Carefully looking after myself is very essential. Therefore, I am watching my eating and drinking habits. The good thing is that I neither smoke nor drink and my diet is on point. I am also regularly visiting the gym so that I stay in shape and maintain my physique. I also dedicate time to do drills with the ball on my own.
“The temptation for some is to partake in unsanctioned money-games to supplement earnings during this Covid-19 period, but this is a no for me because one risks sustaining career-ending injuries from such indulgences.
“Without the game for such a long time, it has really been frustrating for the players, but we have to follow the guidelines on mitigating the pandemic’s impact so that we stay safe.
“It is important to remain patient. Together we have to pray about the situation. If coronavirus recedes, then things will improve and football will return. The game shall eventually be back and we ought to be ready by the time it does,” said the gifted utility footballer.
Mangaira, who is comfortable playing across the back four and equally at home in the midfield holding role, added that he is an all-action man.
The star is keeping tabs on the game by keenly following other football leagues from across the globe where the game is currently in progress. This helps him to keep abreast on developments in the game, while also rooting for his favourite team Barcelona. The hard-tackling defender came into the limelight following a sterling outing during the Gazzaman Tournament which was bankrolled by former CAPS United and Warriors hitman, Alois “Gazza” Bunjira.
He won the golden boy award at the 2016 competition held in Honde Valley after his team Zero Stars finished as losing finalists.
His exploits did not go unnoticed. Buffaloes ran the rule over him, but could not sign him since the transfer deadline and registration of players had elapsed.
He then attracted the attention of cross-town rivals Mutare City Rovers the following year. They snapped him up after he had just turned 20.
Gritty and graceful, the former Dangamvura-bred star started out at Ajax Juniors under gaffer Malvern Mlambo before turning out for D’Vat United. He paid tribute to his father, Noah, an ex-Eastern Highlands shot-stopper, for igniting his football flame.