MOBA Proud Player Spotlight: Taku Mashingaidze
One of the great things about the 2016 Peachtree City MOBA roster was the extreme diversity of players. From right here in Peachtree City, to Melbourne, Florida, to England, to Kuwait, MOBA had no lack in flavor. One of the most influential foreign players on the roster was England-born Taku Mashingaidze.
Mashingaidze was born and raised in England, and was a star player on many youth clubs. Upon his move to America, Taku decided to enroll in Georgia Military College and become an active member of the Bulldogs squad. As many of the young players of MOBA did this summer, he joined in an effort to stay in top-shape and compete at a high-level, which is one of the main goals of the Premier Development League. Taku would not take this new challenge lightly, as he was always looking to make an impact on the pitch with this new club.
Mashingaidze made his first appearance with Peachtree City against the Southern West Virginia King's Warriors on the road in a 3-0 loss, in which he tallied 28 minutes and one shot. Although it took him a couple games to find his stride and his role with the club, Mashingaidze showed no lack of promise and talent as his footwork and ball-handling continued to impress alongside fellow teammates Salomon Lorenzano and Roberto Carrizosa. Upon MOBA's return home, Mashingaidze began to truly make his presence known. After two matches coming off the bench, Taku was called to sub again in the 74th minute against the King's Warriors, and, down 2-0, Mashingaidze wanted to prove to Coach Jordan Davis he could start in this league. With hope fading, and a loss seeming inevitable, Mashingaidze crashed into the box and nailed the balled off the post and in, to give MOBA something to be proud of late, and send the fans home on a high note. Coach Davis would not soon forget this. Four nights later, the SC United Bantams came to town, and Mashingaidze was given the call to start. Taku wanted to prove that he was an essential part to this teams success, and in the most physical match of the year, Mashingaidze found the back of the net once for the second straight game, this time, though, it was the equalizer to tie the game at one after a well-placed free kick by Jordan Day in the 37th minute. MOBA ultimately fell to SC United when Leandro Browne scored in the 74th, after Mashingaidze had been subbed out of the match.
Taku was not only good for scoring, however. In MOBA's rivalry game against Tormenta FC in Peachtree City, Mashingaidze was a crucial part to MOBA's three goal showing. In the 68th minute, tied 1-1, Mashingaidze took the ball in the box, and chipped it almost out of the reach of Alex Guerra, but after a troublesome recovery, Guerra fell to the ground, and MOBA's Todd Fidler swooped in and nailed it into the back of the net, and Mashingaidze was credited with the assist. This was not the last time Taku's name would be brought up. In the 79th minute, Mashingaidze took the ball from a pass by Luke Oesterle, turned up field, was looking to press. Just before being tripped up at the mid-line, he passed it off to Fidler again, who then took the beauty of a shot we all remember, the 30-yard rocket into the corner of the net, and MOBA took the 3-2 lead. Another Tormenta goal would come, and the game would end in a 3-3 tie, but not before Taku Mashingaidze showed all of Peachtree City he was a crucial part of the offensive strategy.
An under-appreciated player early on, Taku showed his importance to the team when it counted, and made his impact in the league. Second only to Omar Jarun in scoring with two goals, and one of the several players on the team with an assist, Mashingaidze was a MOBA Proud member of the team all year, and the people of Peachtree City hope to see Taku and his fancy feet return to the pitch at MOBA Soccer Academy next summer.