ZIMBABWE-LINKED teenage starlet Shumaira Mheuka was on target for the England men’s under-17 team as they showed plenty of promise before succumbing to a 3-2 defeat to Portugal in an enthralling game at the Pinatar Arena in Spain on Wednesday.
The 16-year-old Chelsea under-18 striker who was born in England to Zimbabwean parents gave the Young Lions a perfect start by scoring in the opening minute of the match.
A great ball from Shea Lacey in the opening minute found Mheuka on the edge of the box and the Chelsea striker controlled well before slotting underneath the goalkeeper.
The Young Lions doubled their advantage ten minutes later when a brilliant in-swinging free-kick from Manchester United’s Lacey was glanced in by the head of Freddie Simmonds.
The Young Lions were however pegged back by Portugal who scored twice before the break, before a goalless second half ensured a share of the spoils.
While England were disappointed not to secure the win, it was a fruitful afternoon for Mheuka, who continues to shine since his move from Brighton and Hove Albion in July last year.
The young star’s goal for England under-17s came a couple of days after he had scored another goal for Chelsea under-18 in their 4-2 win against Barnsley in a Premier League Cup group stage opener last Saturday.
Mheuka will be hoping to continue his good form for England under-17s who will now switch their focus to Saturday’s game with Morocco before their final match against hosts Spain next Tuesday.
The Zimbabwean starlet might still be only 16 but he’s seen as one of the brightest talents in world football.
The highly rated youth player joined Brighton Hove as a nine-year-old, and prior to his elevation to the England under-17 set up he had already played three games in the English U18s Premier League for the Seagulls in 2021-22 season and scored his first goal for the team when he was just 14-years-old.
He has also represented England U15s at youth internationals, making his debut in April 2022, and has so far scored two goals in two appearances.
Shim Mheuka as he is known in the English football circles, comes from a solid football background.
His father Malcom Mheuka was a professional footballer, who like Shim, made a mark for himself when he was still a young boy.
The Dangamvura born and bred former Zimbabwe Saints central attacking midfieder introduced himself in Zimbabwe football scenes after starring for Mutare boys high in 1998 in the once prestigious Copa Coca-Cola national high schools soccer tournament where they became the first high school team in Manicaland province to win the competition, before signing his first professional contract with then Harare-based premier league side Circle Cement at only 18-years-old.
After a stint with Circle Cement FC, Malcom Mheuka went on to sign for one of the top clubs in the country during that time- Bulawayo based Zimbabwe Saints before moving to the now defunct Gunners FC. – Herald