Harare – Nine years ago, the Musonda brothers signed for English Premier Soccer League giants Chelsea. None years later, not one of the three Zambians has featured for the club in a competitive match.
Charly had the brightest prospects of the trio, and other big guns like Arsenal, Barcelona, Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid all had the then 15-year-old in their sights.
Along with older brothers Lamisha and Tika, the Musondas all opted to join the Blues.
But a brutal mix of injuries, lack of match fitness and the arrival of other players means the Musondas have failed to make a breakthrough at Chelsea
Lamisha, the oldest of the three, was offloaded two years into his contract; while Tika was dogged by injuries and was forced into early retirement. In 2016, Charly – who is still on Chelsea’s books – suffered a career-threatening knee injury while on loan at Vitesse Arnhem in The Netherlands.
Charly’s posterior cruciate ligament injury (PCL) is a rare footballing injury, and the experts say he only has a 20 percent chance of playing at the highest level ever again.
“A PCL surgery is not common in football. It’s not like an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) where you have surgery and in six months you can come back. They (doctors) told me the odds of coming back were like 20 percent. Of coming back and being at the top level, being able to compete and play for a club like Chelsea, it was slim to none,” recalled the young Zambian in an interview with BBC.
“It’s very difficult to have three years without being able to do what you really love. I would be lying to say it’s been easy, but I’ve always known that some struggles are worth going through,” he added.
Charly remains hopeful of a full recovery, and he believes he can go on to play for another 10 years as a professional.
“I’m on the right track. I feel like a fighter now preparing for a boxing match. It would be an incredible comeback – an incredible story. Every day is part of the journey, every day a step closer to coming back.
“I do believe if I put a run together and I come back, I can play for a good 10 years. I’m still 24 – if I come back in the prime of my career, I can put a run together – that’s my goal,” said Musonda.
As the Zambian international journeys to recovery, he also battles the mixed emotions of watching his former mates at the Chelsea academy growing into first team players at the Premiership giants. He really wants to take to the pitch as have done the likes of Reece James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham.”I know how hard it is, so I’m really proud of them, seeing people you’ve grown up with doing so well, you can only be happy. Hopefully, I’ll be able to one-day train and play with them again.”