In football, one match at an international spectacle can make or break a player.
This is a popular phrase that has discernible examples in the beautiful game.
In a nutshell this means one good performance can help a player grow or even propel him to greener pastures while also a single dismal display has the power to ruin his entire career and reputation.
Golden Arrows and Zimbabwe left-back Divine Lunga is one such reference that one splendid showing in a big tournament can yield fruit in one’s career.
The 25-year-old defender rightfully earned myriads of plaudits when he frustrated Liverpool and Pharaohs superstar Mohamed Salah in Zimbabwe’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) opener against hosts, Egypt, in June last year.
Since that momentous occasion in Cairo, Lunga has been linked with a number of clubs in Belgium, France and even giants Mamelodi
Sundowns. Keeping Salah at bay also earned Lunga general respect from football-loving people in Zim and in SA.
“That game against Egypt changed my life a lot. People always knew I can play, but they didn’t know how good I can be against the best in the game.
“After returning from Egypt everyone stopped me on the streets and praised me,” Lunga told Sowetan.
“I always wish to go back to that game again because it was a turning point in my career. Imagine if I played badly, people were going to judge me with that for the rest of my life.”
Lunga isn’t interested in paying attention to the speculations linking him to other clubs, insisting it’s his agent’s job to deal with that.
“I won’t comment much on that (the interest from big teams). When you have a good game against the best, it’s normal that big teams will notice you, but me, I leave everything to my manager (Gibson Mahachi).
“I don’t even want to know which team wants me.”
Lunga has been one of Arrows’ livewires this campaign, starting 18 matches with two assists. – Sowetan