Born in the eastern border town of Mutare, Zimbabwe, Hardlife, as his name suggests, did not have the best start in life. “When I was born, my parents did not have a good life – that is why they chose this name for me,” he told This is Africa in an interview. Life was difficult and he had to find a way out of the daily struggle to survive. At a very young age, he started playing football in the ghetto streets.
Eventually, Hardlife was scouted by the Agatha Sheneti Soccer Academy, which nurtured him into the football maestro he is now. However, Zvirekwi only managed to break into Premiership football in 2007, playing for Gunners Football Club, but thereafter he seemed unstoppable and his rise was meteoric. He won the Premiership title with the Gunners in 2009, the club’s maiden league trophy, and made it into the national team. The defender then joined one of Zimbabwe’s biggest football clubs, CAPS United, in 2013 and was eventually promoted to captain the club. In 2016 he was crowned the Soccer Star of the Year.
Just when was at the top of his game, calamity struck: He was involved in a horrific car accident in March 2018, which resulted in his hand being amputated. “The accident was something so unfortunate; it’s something that many people face unexpectedly, you know?” said Zvirekwi, recalling a memory he would rather forget. Many thought it was the end of the career of the 2016 Soccer Star of the Year.
Regardless of the pain, surgery and gruelling rehabilitation, he was back in training only five weeks after the accident – testament to his strong character and positive attitude.
“After I was involved in that accident, I never gave up on the gift that God had given me just because some calamitous situation had befallen me. I just thought that if I got another chance to play, I would grab it with both hands,” he said.
“It’s not only about what you do on the pitch but off the pitch as well. You have to have that discipline to be professional. You have to be disciplined on and off the pitch,” Zvirekwi added. Today, Zvirekwi is still playing for CAPS United and he is still the captain of the team. It seems that instead of diminishing him, the accident has only made him stronger and an even greater inspiration to all.