Panashe Madanha, a Zimbabwe-born Australian professional footballer, is tonight set to make his starting debut for Rapid Adelaide United.
The 19-year-old winger made his professional debut in an Australia Cup Round of 32 match against Newcastle Jets on 30 July 2022.
He is the first Zimbabwe-born player to feature in the Isuzu UTE A-League.
Madanha moved to Adelaide when he was just four after his dad secured a favourable job opportunity, and his mum subsequently found work as a nurse.
It was often a case of football in the winter, and cricket in the Australian summer for Madanha in the first few years, whose solid frame and pace have always caused trouble for opposing defenders and batsmen/bowlers alike.
His father was a big influence on Madanha with his passion for football, prior to him truly finding his love for playing the game when he was seven.
It was a seemingly natural progression through the SA NTC, ‘Skillaroos’, and United Youth pathways that culminated in his first league appearance last Tuesday night.
Madanha said of the experience:
It was really cool and an absolute honour to come through the system here in Adelaide and make my debut in front of lots of friends and family.
You go to the games as a kid and dream of one day playing at the top level for your hometown team.
For that to come true just makes me want to keep working and training hard and learning off the other boys in a really supportive team.
The crew are all very supportive of me back home in Zimbabwe and they congratulated me and sent me some nice messages following my debut.
My grandma, my cousins, and aunties and uncles, they all called me and it’s an awesome feeling.