Knowledge Musona gets Hoffenheim chance to thrive

By Steve VickersBBC News, Harare
Zimbabwe's Knowledge Musona
Musona has joined Hoffenheim after impressing with Kaizer Chiefs

It did not take long for Knowledge Musona to be tagged by fans and Zimbabwean sports journalists as 'the next Peter Ndlovu'.

And the promising 21-year-old now has the chance to put himself in the same bracket as the legendary striker.

The youngster's move to Hoffenheim gives him the chance to emulate Ndlovu, who spent 13 seasons in Europe.

Musona moves from Kaizer Chiefs after winning the South African league's top scorer award for last season.

That achievement is testimony to his ability, as Musona is a creative striker rather than an out-and-out hitman.

And his talent was so abundant that Chiefs signed him as a 19-year-old straight out of a Harare youth academy, a youngster who had not played any premier league football in Zimbabwe.

Musona has the opportunity to join a very small group of Zimbabweans to have distinguished themselves in Europe's top leagues after clinching the five-year contract with the German side.

Besides Ndlovu, only Benjani Mwarurwari and current Warriors coach Norman Mapeza have made it at that level.

"He's disciplined, dedicated and he's got a real passion for football," said Mapeza, who once played for Turkish side Galatasaray in the Uefa Champions League.

"He always wants to learn, I've seen a lot of potential in him, and if he stays focussed we could have another player like Peter Ndlovu."

Musona's second game for Zimbabwe gave him the opportunity to face Brazil in Harare, in a friendly match just before the 2010 World Cup.

Although the Warriors were beaten 3-0, he was his team's best player and was not afraid to take on the Brazilian defenders.

He demonstrated that he can handle pressure in Zimbabwe's latest Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Mali in Harare.

Having scored a brilliant opener for the Warriors, Musona was given the responsibility to take a penalty in stoppage time with match tied at 1-1.

His first attempt was saved but the kick was retaken, and in front of a capacity crowd he kept his composure to score a goal that put Zimbabwe's Nations Cup campaign back on track.

Although clubs such as Celtic in Scotland were interested in signing Musona, Hoffenheim could be an ideal club for Musona, given their record of nurturing African talent such as Senegal's Demba Ba.