April 17, 1991
Harare Central Hospital
Kudakwashe 'Terminator' Mapira is a Zimbabwean talented footballer who made history by becoming the first physically challenged player to make the Zimbabwean Homeless World Cup team.
Kudakwashe was born on 17 April 1991 at Harare Central Hospital to Alois Mapira and the late Annette Chikurumi-Mapira. He grew up in Glen Norah, one of the Harare suburbs known for churning out talented footballers in the country. One thing Mapira is grateful for is the fact that his parents did not treat him as disabled by taking him to disability schools though he was born with a physical deformity where his left foot is virtually missing. Because of his physical fitness and strength, Mapira was nicknamed Terminator by former Motor Action star Michael Bingadadi and many people know him only by that name.
In spite of his physical disability, gifted footballer Kudakwashe “Terminator” Mapira has continually not been deterred by the handicap in pursuit of his football dream. It was also apparent at a tender age that the gifted boy also had a unique football talent and general love for the sport. And for as long as he can remember, Mapira has been playing football with able-bodied competitors and in most cases outplaying them, but a professional contract has eluded him because of his physical condition.
Terminator was part of the team to represent Zimbabwe at the event held in Cardiff, Wales in July 2019. It had been his prayer to go to Europe one day and to possibly get a chance to play football there. But with the Homeless World Cup opportunity, it was no longer about him, but for all the people with disabilities. It has been Mapira’s dream from when he was young to carve a successful football career and eventually play for the Zimbabwe national team (the Warriors). He also wanted to look after his mother, Annette Chikurumi-Mapira (now late), from his football gift.
But it has not been an easy journey from being turned away by a number of local academies and local junior football clubs. Only one coach, former ZIFA technical director Maxwell Takaendesa Jongwe, was brave enough to give Mapira a junior contract at CAPS FC, while Takesure Chiragwi was tempted to sign the player for division one football when he coached Flame Lily. Apart from having natural talent, it was hard for Mapira not to like football growing up in an area awash with football icons such as Tinashe Nengomasha, George Shaya, Dickson Choto and Givemore Manuella, to mention a few. Mapira also grew up playing with the likes of Abbas Amidu while he is best friends with former Warriors and Dynamos Football Club goalkeeper Tatenda Mukuruva.
Mapira was one of the eight players selected to represent the country in Cardiff from the over 1 000 hopefuls who participated in the trials. Interestingly the Homeless World Cup team also for the first included three women and five men. Nokuthula Dube, Natasha Ndowa and Sharai Nyakatsapa make up the women in the team, while Oscar Muraicho, Peter Sungai, Mostaf Jafari, Denzel Mhindirira and Mupira to complete the squad. He made it into the team after finishing as the top goalscorer at the Castle Lager Five-a-Side tournament.
“I want to thank Young Achievement for Sports Development for this opportunity to go represent my country because it was my dream. I used to ask God why I was born like this, but I realise that He had amazing plans for me. “I hope this opportunity will open doors for me so that I can make money to set up a school of sports for disabled people who are gifted in the country,” Mapira said at the time.
Mapira’s dalliances with the sport have included trials after trials with the closest he has come to gracing the Castle Lager Premiership (Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League) being a short stint at the defunct Caps FC back in 2008. “I played for Caps FC, thanks to Takaendesa Jongwe and Joey Antipas, who gave me that opportunity,” he said. “Unfortunately, I could not achieve my dream of playing in the top flight because of my disability, but it’s something I do not regret. “God’s time is always the best time,” said Mapira.
Mapira was offered a scholarship to study sports management with an American university while South African-based side Cape Town City was also assisting the disabled footballer in different ways.
“Being there (Homeless World Cup) was a good experience for me; it opened up many opportunities for me as a player, and as an individual,” said the midfielder.
“I cannot mention the university at the moment since there’s some paperwork that still needs to finalised, but I can confirm that I have been awarded a scholarship with an American university,” he said.
Teams Played For
- Gunners Academy (2004-2006)
- CAPS FC (2007-2010)
- DC Academy (2014-2017)
- Homeless World Cup Participant (Team Zimbabwe) - 2019 in Cardiff, Wales
- Man of the Match Award (Zimbabwe vs Chile, and Zimbabwe vs USA)
- Sports Management Scholarship - American University
- Organised a Soccer Sports tournament for the disabled youths in 2018
- Zimbabwe Soccer Legends Ambassador