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Date: 15 December 2017

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Unpacking George Chigova's Supersport move

[Posted 25 Feb 2014]
[By Brighton Mupangavanhu]
Unpacking George Chigova"s Supersport move

As you read this piece, you should have heard by now that Zimbabwe's most promising goalkeeper, the Warriors CHAN 2014 first choice keeper, George Chigova has been snapped up by former ABSA premiership champions Supersport United. The development begs a question as to whether the move is good for the player's future and short-term Warriors senior squad prospects.

Now, this is not a question which can be answered with a simple YES or NO. The matter requires unpacking. There are long term benefits for the player and his international football career, and there could be short-term threats to such prospects. All depend on circumstances which Geoge will face on the ground, whether fortune will smile at him, and if he is prepared to get dirty on the field of play and fight for his place in the team.

Lets begin with the medium to long term benefits of Chigova's move to Supersport.

Chigova is young, reportedly 22 years of age and is rated as the best goalkeeper in Zimbabwe at the moment, and arguably one of the most promising keepers on the continent. A move from the Castle Lager Prermier Soccer League in his homeland to arguably the richest league in Africa will translate to better financial rewards for the youngster.

Should Chigova take his chances when they come, then he has potential to prove himself and still win a move to Europe where his talents should be showcased at this stage.

Clearly Chigova has abundant potential, but he is not a polished diamond as yet. He is brave, has good ball timing and excellent reflexes, but his ball distribution remains work in progress. A move to Supersport of South Africa will mean access to better training facilities and access to probably better goalkeeping expertise. One expects the undeveloped aspects of his game to improve with his stay in Mzantsi.

The Warriors will benefit immensely should Chigova improve as a goalkeeper at Supersport. There is no need to elaborate on this point.

There is almost a flip side to this development. The prospects of Chigova growing as a goalkeeper at Supersport and consequent benefits to his international career depend on the player's willingness to be patient, work hard, abide his time and grab the opportunity when it comes knocking on his door.

Ronwen Williams is one of the best goalkeepers in South Africa at the moment and he is in top form in the ABSA premiership. Dislodging such a young keeper who has established himself in Supersport's first team will require extra-ordinary effort from George.

While George works hard behind the scenes and abides his time to move ahead of Ronwen in the pecking order at Matsatsantsa a-Pitoli, his international career will certainly have to be sacrificed.

George will have to wait for some time before he can challenge Washington Arubi and Tapuwa Kapini in the senior Warriors team. These are two goalkeepers who command regular first team places at AmaTuks and Amazulu respectively.

There will not be another CHAN appearance for Chigova where he could easily attract interest of European scouts as he did at this year's tournament.

Now, this could lead others to argue that maybe George should have been patient and developed his career at Dynamos in order to move straight to a European club.

Yet, that is easily said than done. Moving to Europe is particularly a tall order for keepers regardless of the keeper's prodigious talent. The story of Itumeleng Khune, the reigning Footballer of the Year in South Africa is well documented. Khune has failed to attract real or substantial interest from European teams despite having been Bafana Bafana's most consistent performer in the past few years.

The only comforting thing for Chigova is that he is not Khune, and fortune may as well smile at him differently from what Mzantsi's No.1 has experienced. Zi-keeper, as Chigova is affectionately known, appears to easily attract attention and interest even with a simple save, or even when he has enjoyed the protection of the defensive abilities of Eric Chipeta and Patson Jaure. That said, it should not take away from the fact he is such a talented young goalkeeper.

The conclusion of the matter is that a move to the ABSA premiership presents great prospects for the development of George Chigova's football career. While George may not have control over every situation that may crop up at Supersport, he has control over one thing : what he can do with the opportunity presented to him now, and other opportunities which will come his way. 

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