Tadious Manyepo Sports Reporter
THEY were best friends and easily the most-prized assets at Herentals in the past two football seasons.
But they are set to clash in the big Harare derby this coming season.
Midfielder Juan Mutudza, whom neutrals feel should have been included among the 2019 Soccer Stars of the Year finalists, has joined Dynamos in arguably the Glamour Boys’ biggest swoop this off-season.
On the other hand, Mutudza’s best friend and defender Carlos Mavhurume is on the verge of signing for DeMbare’s bitter rivals, CAPS United.
With both the Glamour Boys and the Green Machine reaffirming their commitment to run their teams like business entities as from this season, signing the 22-year-olds is seen as a sign of intent by both clubs.
But it is the enterprising pair who are relishing playing for the two giants.
Mutudza has particularly been impressive and was a regular for the national Under-23 team last year.
He scored four goals and provided six assists for Herentals that survived relegation by the skin of their teeth in the last day of the 2019 season.
Yet, just three years ago, Mutudza was playing for a Division Two side, Budiriro Gunners, whose home ground, adjacent to Budiriro 1 Shopping Centre, is actually a threat to the players themselves due to its rocky surface.
Mutudza was only identified by Herentals after he impressed in his team’s match against army side, Sables.
He was sparingly used by Herentals coach Kumbirai Mutiwekuziva in the 2018 term with the gaffer arguing Mutudza wasn’t ripe enough at the time to play competitively in the top-flight.
But he would roar for the rest of 2019 marathon and he missed just three of the 34 league games played by the Students.
It was a pity the season ended without him winning any accolade his play clearly deserved.
But so good was Mutudza all teams in the top-flight were scrambling to capture him this off-season.
It was Dynamos, though, who pipped everyone to his signature last Friday.
DeMbare spokesperson Tinashe Farawo confirmed the bumper signing.
“We have signed several players including Juan Mutudza from Herentals. He will be at the Glamour Boys for the next three years. We are leaving nothing to chance and by bringing in a player of Mutudza’s caliber, I am sure our intentions are loud and clear,” said Farawo.
DeMbare had difficulties negotiating with Herentals as the player still had another year on his contract but eventually managed to seal the deal.
While Mutudza dazzled in the midfield for Mutiwekuziva’s troops, Mavhurume was rock solid in central defence.
The Chitungwiza-born star was one of the reasons Herentals had the second best defence in the Premiership in 2018.
But he missed 10 games last season due to a recurring ankle injury.
When he finally recovered, Mavhurume formed a wall with Blessing Maunganidze at the heart of defence.
The youthful defender should have joined Makepekepe last season but Herentals, who still had a contract with the player, wouldn’t let their prized asset go.
Unattached, the player is now on the verge of joining the Green Machine, who have been one of the busiest teams this transfer season after they off-loaded a dozen of their former players.
Both CAPS United and Dynamos started their pre-season preparations yesterday but chose to put all the goings-on under wraps.
Mutudza and Mavhurume will easily be the players to watch particularly given that they are now playing for big guns.
The players wouldn’t give their comments citing protocol issues.