HARARE – Just three months ago Sydney Linyama was on the verge of quitting football after being shown the exit door by Harare giants Dynamos.
With his reputation in tatters after he had been labelled a “bad boy”, the Glamour Boys decided against renewing his contract.
With DeMbare coaches and officials telling anyone who cared to listen that Linyama was so ill-disciplined it became difficult for the 26-year-old to find a new club.
For at least a fortnight, Linyama stayed at home thinking to totally give up on the game.
However, one day after a strong discussion with his wife Georgina Chitembo, Linyama finally rediscovered his passion for the game again and decided to find a new club.
Georgina is a footballer as well with Women’s Super League side Correctional Queens formerly Flame Lily.
However, it was not going to be an easy task to find a new team since his reputation was already soiled.
“My wife encouraged me a lot during those trying times, she stood by me in every aspect and I want to thank her for the love she showed me,” Linyama tells the Daily News on Sunday.
“That’s when I went to try my luck at CAPS United but I was told that they had already registered their squad due to the Champions League deadline.
“I then went to Triangle but again nothing materialised. They told me that they would call but up to now I’m yet to receive a call from them. It was a very frustrating period.”
Linyama admits that there were times he had off field problems which forced him to go AWOL at times but he is not pleased with the way he was chucked out at DeMbare.
“I was really hurt when I learnt that I was no longer needed at Dynamos. What hurts me a lot is that I only came to know of the club’s decision through the press,” Linyama recalls.
“No one at the club really cared to inform me beforehand about the decision until I read in the newspapers that I had been off-loaded.”
Linyama added: “I was labelled a bad person without people getting the side of my story. Of course there were times when I could not attend training sessions but it was not by design. A lot happened in my life some of which I could not share with you right now.
“Maybe when the right time comes, I would be able to let you know but what I can say for now is to thank God because everything seems to have worked out fine in the end.”
After rejection by CAPS and Triangle, Linyama then called Rhinos coach Stanford “Stix” Mutizwa and begged him for a trial.
The legendary former Warriors midfielder agreed to look at the defender after only he had given him a strong word regarding discipline.
“I only trained with Rhinos for one day and the next day they agreed to give me a contract,” Linyama says.
This was the second chance the defender was looking for and he was not going to let it slip away having gone through the pain of rejection.
“It’s an opportunity I have grabbed by both hands. I sat down and told myself that this is my only way to redeem myself.
“I told myself that I needed to focus more on my career and what happened at Dynamos was the biggest lesson in my life.”
Since the start of the season, Linyama has been a permanent feature at the heart of the Chauya Chipembere defence where he has formed a solid partnership with captain Bruce Homora.
The army side currently sit in second place on the log with 20 points just two behind leaders Ngezi Platinum Stars.
Mutizwa was surprised by the way Linyama has behaved since joining the army side.
“You cannot doubt his (Linyama) qualities and we are very happy he is part of us. Ever since he joined us he has been outstanding,” Mutizwa says.
“We discussed with him our expectations when he came and up until now we have never had any disciplinary problems with him. I’m actually surprised that people were saying he is a bad boy.”
And as fate would have it, Linyama and teammate Jameson Mukombwe were named in the 25-man squad released by Warriors interim coach Norman Mapeza last week for next month’s 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier against Liberia at home.
“For me to be called to the national team is an honour, no doubt about that, I never saw it coming,” Linyama says.
“I’m very happy, this is the first time that I have been called to the national team and I want to make the best out of it. It’s not every time that you get such opportunities like this.”
Linyama credited his newly-found attitude towards the sport as the major reason behind his transformation.
“I feel like I’m more understanding now than ever. I think my career is now on the right track and my attitude has also changed. I think if I can keep on focusing going forward I might go and play outside the country.”
Georgina is glad she persevered and kept urging her husband to revive his career after the turmoil he went through since his departure from Dynamos.
“I’m really happy for him, it was difficult for all of us,” Chitembo says.
“I even pushed him to the extent that we would do our morning training together.
“I’m glad Rhinos gave him a second chance and they told assured me that my husband has joined a military team and they will make sure he repents.”