Harare – Having spent a decade on the books of English Premiership side Leicester City FC, Zimbabwean-born soccer midfielder Tawanda Maswanhise is living no stone unturned in his quest to break into the starting XI of the 2015-16 league winners.
The 18-year-old joined the club as an eight-year-old. In that time Maswanhise has grown in leaps and bounds and his performances for the Under-18 squad last season has seen him named in the Foxes senior team for the 2021-22 campaign.
But he wants more than to be a member of the senior squad: He wants to be in the starting 11.
“I’ve been here for 10 years now, and when I was younger, I knew that there would be good opportunities for me here, and I’ve been up through all of the age groups,” he said.
After his first week with the senior team at the end of July, Maswanhise was handed game time against Burton Albion, playing the opening 45 minutes, before going on to impress in another pre-season friendly against Wycombe Wanderers and being named as substitute in the 3-all draw with Queens Park Rangers.
Maswanhise told the club’s media last week that he was doing everything in his power to perfect his craft in a bid to break into the starting line-up.
“The past few games I’ve played; I’ve just had little conversations with (coach) Brendan (Rodgers) about my positioning of where I play. I’m an attacking midfielder so he’s just telling me improvements and successful things I’ve done out of possession, so it’s been really helpful. I feel like there’s improvements here, it’s been good, I just need to keep going and we’ll see where it takes me. I’m learning,” said Maswanhise.
The young Zimbabwean did get a feel of life with the senior team in the Premiership last year when he was named in the match-day squad for Leicester City against Manchester United at the Old Trafford on May 20, 2021.
Though he did not play, it was for him a surreal experience.
“It was a good experience inside the changing room. The love and all the togetherness inside the changing room was quite big in there so I felt confident and I was ready to come on. We stayed overnight in Manchester, Salford I think it was, and I felt relaxed, thinking about what if I do come on. I was just thinking about different scenarios, if I do come on or if I don’t, and it was quite good actually.
“In that week or so in the lead up to that, I was training with the first team. It’s been tough but I’m managing, I’m getting better and I’m improving day by day, so as long as I’m improving day by day, I can show the coaches what I’m doing,” he recalled of his first time being with the Leicester City FC senior team.”
With the 2021-22 English Premiership season about to start, Maswanhise is looking forward to playing alongside fellow new signing and Southern African, Patson Daka of Zambia.
“I heard about (Patson) Daka’s goal-scoring form last season so when it came to the Burton game, I was thinking: ‘I’ve got someone next to me or someone in front of me that can score, so my job is to assist them or get close to them,” said Maswanhise.