Panashe Madanha has made history in the Isuzu UTE A-League and is flying the flag for his family back home in Zimbabwe. KEEPUP’s Sacha Pisani charts the rise of another Adelaide United youngster.
It’s little wonder Adelaide United teenager Panashe Madanha idolises Bayern Munich sensation Alphonso Davies, when you consider the similarities between the pair.
Both were born in Africa. Both relocated to different continents, albeit in varying circumstances but with their families sharing a common goal – the pursuit of a better life.
Born in Zimbabwe, Australia was the location for a four-year-old Madanha, whose father received a job opportunity Down Under. Davies, meanwhile, was born in a refugee camp in Ghana after his Liberian parents fled during the Second Liberian Civil War, and they eventually immigrated to Canada in 2005.
oth are also attackers by nature, but operating as wing-backs for their clubs.
The latter’s career path – from refugee to UEFA Champions League winner and Bundesliga victor to FIFA Men’s World Cup participant – continues to be a source of inspiration for Adelaide’s 18-year-old talent.
“100%. The way he grew up (inspires me),” Madanha told KEEPUP heading into Saturday night’s Semi Final second leg against Central Coast Mariners. “He grew up in not the best setting but he managed to find an opportunity in Canada.
“Played in school level there, then got a chance in MLS. He just kept on working hard. Players like him just show you that if you continue to keep your head down and work hard, chances will come.
“Now he is playing for Bayern Munich. Similar position to me, similar story to me. He started as an attacker and Bayern using him more as a wing-back.”
He continued: “It’s been an interesting year because I’ve been an attacker for most of my career. But, since I’ve come into the Adelaide United first team, I’ve been playing that wing-back position.
“When I was younger, I used to look up to Kylian Mbappe. A very quick player, a lot of speed. My main attribute is my speed too. But lately, I’ve been watching more football at the highest level and looking at players like Kyle Walker, Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alphonso Davies.
“These top, world-class full-backs who are also good at getting forward and using their speed to help their team.”