28 April 2013

Zimbabwe: Chinyama's Lewandowski Ache

Former Warriors striker Takesure Chinyama could have left the Polish Ekstraklasa nearly two seasons ago, but memories of his amazing exploits still linger in the minds of his former club fans Legia Warsaw.

Two years after he bade adieu to Polish football, Chinyama is still receiving rave reviews, with comparisons against Europe's man-of-the-moment Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski.

To think this is the man who condemned Lewandowski to Legia Warsaw's B team, forcing the Polish to be loaned out to third division side Znicz Pruszkow speaks volumes about Chinyama's impact at Legia Warsaw.

"Their then manager, Jan Urban, claimed that he (Lewandowski) wouldn't be playing in his system as Legia needed only one striker and they had that in form of Takesure Chinyama," wrote Polish freelance football writer Michal Zachodny on footballramble.com two years ago.

Urban's arrival at Legia Warsaw in mid-2007 saw a revolution that swept other strikers like Piotr Wlodarczyk and Dawid Janczyk to create space for Chinyama and stall Lewandowski's graduation from the B team despite the then 19-year-old's showers of brilliance.

Former Warriors coach Wieslaw Grabowski who handled Chinyama's move to Poland from Monomotapa said Chinyama was Borussia Dortmund's target before they settled for Lewandowski after a scintillating outing for Lech Poznan.

But the player's attitude and lax approach to issues cost him the dream move before a high asking price by Legia Warsaw prevented his intended move to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Legia Warsaw's official website recently published a feature article about Chinyama's stay at the club where his 19 goals in the 2008/9 saw him sharing the Golden Boot with Wisla Krakow's Pawel Brozek to become the first non-European to top-score in the Ekstraklasa.

His biggest miss was however winning the league title with the club.

"Takesure Chinyama can be placed next to Robert Lewandowski and Pawel Brozek. But his career slowed with knee problems," reported legia.com the club's official website.

Described by Polish media as a "deadly striker or sniper," Chinyama seems to have evoked sweet memories of his time in Poland where he won five trophies including the Polish Cup.

Stefan Bialas who took over from Urban in 2010 viewed Chinyama in the same breath as Ivorian striker Didier Drogba.

"In his best period I compared him to Didier Drogba, because he was very strong, able to strike hard and positions himself well in the penalty area," Bialas recently told the club website.

Chinyama was also known for his wild goal celebrations which included mimicking a man smoking marijuana, imitating a monkey and uprooting a corner flag.

"The best and biggest sniper. Crazy! And those of his goal celebrations," said a fan Kondzio on legia.com.

Blessed with a big frame usually preferred by European clubs, Chinyama was released by Legia Warsaw in June 2011 after troubles with an operated knee.

A six-month spell at Dynamos drew the attention of South African giants Orlando Pirates who forked out US$75 000 for his services mid-last year.

Even though he has lacked consistency at Pirates where he is now, the 30-year-old forward is amongst the top contenders for the African Champions League Golden Boot with four goals to his name so far.

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