Munetsi’s France move ahead of Afcon: Blessing or curse?

Marshall Munetsi could be under pressure to impress his new paymasters when he lines up at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Egypt but Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates legend Helman Makhalele has advised the versatile player to remain calm and enjoy the moment as his hard work has already been rewarded.

Munetsi is set to make his debut in Ligue 1 after he joined French side Stade de Reims on a four-year deal ahead of the 2019/20 season.

“It’s a good move for him because everyone aspires to play in Europe. I think even though I was hoping he would stay a bit longer,” Makhalele told Goal.

“I think it’s a very good thing for him to secure this move before the Afcon tournament. It will definitely boost his confidence,” he said.

“However, I am not quite sure if it will put pressure on him to try and impress his new team. My advice to him is that he should take it easy because he has already signed and he should just enjoy the Afcon if he gets a chance to play for his country,” reacted the legend.

“I believe he has signed with a team that believes in him and he can do well in France without trying too much at the Afcon. Overall, this move comes at a good time for him because he will go to Afcon with some confidence although it will be a different stage in Egypt – I am happy for him and let’s hope he will do well in France,” concluded the legend.

Munetsi joined Stade de Reims on the back of an impressive run for the Soweto giants and consistent performances during Zimbabwe’s Afcon qualifier campaign.

Munetsi follows in the footsteps of his countryman Benjani Mwaruwari, who played in France soon after leaving South Africa many years ago.

Munetsi told the Bucs website upon his exit:“First and foremost, I would like to thank the Chairman and management for all the support they have given me ever since I arrived at the Club.”

 “I came here as a young boy but now I leave as a man.”

In an interview on the club’s website, Reims’ director general Mathieu Lacour believes Munetsi’s impeding Afcon sojourn will help him smoothen the rough edges of his game.

“The Afcon, which he will take part at the end of the month, will also gain him in experience,” Lacour said.

“Marshall has a great versatility since he can evolve at different positions in the middle of the field. His characteristics, in particular, his athletic density and his volume of play, correspond to a rare profile which was checked by the staff.”

On other end, extremist Warriors fans believe if Munetsi pulls off a blinder in Egypt his stock would be worth more than the money he settled for.