Mano A Mano In Combat With Mano-Mano
Kickoff|April 2017

Helder “Mano-Mano” Muianga missed out on a dream move to the English Premier League, but says he still remains proud of his career, which he spent mostly in South Africa. Now he hopes his new project back home in Mozambique will help him emulate his mentor, Jomo Sono.

Lovemore Moyo

Imagine a chance to play in the English Premier League slipping through your fingers because your club wanted you to rush back from a trial to play in a cup game – a game you eventually end up losing?

That was the fate of former Mozambique international defender Helder “Mano-Mano” Muianga, who was wanted by West Ham United at the turn of the millennium when he was on the books of Manning Rangers.

“Harry Redknapp was the Hammers coach at the time and they wanted me on loan first as they were hesitant to spend money on me right away because I was untested at that level coming from Africa,” recalls Mano-Mano.

“However, Rangers demanded that I come back to play in a cup game at the weekend if they weren’t getting the kind of money they were looking for right away.

“With Rangers not playing along, my big break to Europe was gone just like that for me,” says the now retired centre-back.

With that opportunity missed, he had to settle for fighting for a place at Rangers, a team he had joined in June 1999 after being spotted by Gordon Igesund while playing for Mozambique at the COSAFA Castle Cup.

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