Eddie Chikamhi Senior Sports Reporter
DYNAMOS teenage winger Bill Antonio may have to wait a little bit longer before he takes a crack at his European dream as his trip to top Belgian football side KV Mechelen for trials is shrouded in uncertainty.
The 19-year-old, who made his debut season in topflight football with a sparkle, has been invited for assessment but is yet to get the visas and other necessary documentation following differences between his father and the agent representing him.
However, his father, Nowell Antonio, yesterday told The Herald that the Belgians were still expecting the lanky winger any time this coming month.
Apparently, Nowell is at loggerheads with the agent Placcedes Jefferson, who is understood to be handling the youngster’s affairs.
“The people in Belgium called and said they wanted Bill for trials to see if he has the qualities that they would want.
“I feel this is a very good opportunity for Bill and as a father I can only encourage him to remain focused on his game, put in a lot of effort and give it a try because it’s all about his career.
“But the issue now is that the people who are supposed to be fronting this are not operating in good faith and there is danger that the boy could run into problems in the future.
“As a father I am duty–bound to avoid that at all costs because I came a long way in supporting my son’s education and his fledgling football career.
“I want Bill to be successful in his football career. I also want him to have a good education to widen career options. Bill has played football from a young age. I signed Bill with Dzenga (Regis) when he was in form three but we have since terminated the contract.
“He signed a new one with Prince Edward. The teacher in charge of football at the school approached me about Dynamos and I agreed to it.
“Then came the agent. But this time the documentation was being done behind my back. Apparently they manipulated Bill’s mother to get the papers signed.
“So I have asked to see the documentation pertaining to the contracts that he has signed with Prince Edward Academy, the agent and Dynamos, but they are not being availed.
“I have only seen his Dynamos contract which I do not have any problem with because it is very clear.
‘‘It recognises he is still pursuing his studies and allows him to go to university if he needs to or to attend trials anywhere if needed.
“But then you begin to think there are people waiting to manipulate his minor status. A registered UK-based intermediary had offered to assist because these people are not operating in good faith. But the agent is not playing ball,” said Nowell Antonio.
KV Mechelen have indicated that they will be expecting the young winger from April 1 to April 30 for the trials. Antonio said it was his dream to play professional football in Europe and has set himself to achieve the ambitious targets.
Despite the challenges currently obtaining, the door is still open for the young winger, who had another brilliant outing at the weekend in Dynamos’ 2-0 win over Harare City.
The Herald is in possession of a letter addressed to the Belgian Embassy in South Africa signed by the team’s head of sports administration, Simas Calcoen, asking the Embassy to issue a Visa for the Zimbabwean to travel to the European country.
‘‘We are pleased to confirm to you that Yellow Red KV Mechelen, a Belgian professional football club competing in the First Division, are willing to invite the following player: Bill Leeroy Antonio born in Harare (Zimbabwe) on 3 September 2002 . . . to visit the facilities of our club during a trial period with our professional team consisting of several tests, physical, medial, etc,’’read the letter, dated March 2, 2022.
‘‘The player will follow the training sessions with the aim of possible recruitment in the future. All this is limited period of maximum 30 days as from April 1, 2022 until 30 April 2022.
‘‘For this reason we kindly ask you to grant Bill Antonio a visa to travel to Belgium.
‘‘Our club will be as vigilant as possible during the player’s stay and then upon his return to ensure that he fully complies with all immigration rules.’’