Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor—
ZIMBABWE international striker Knowledge Musona has found a new home in Europe after inking a two-and-a-half-year deal with Belgian Pro League side KV Oostende, who paid 500 000 euros for his signature. The 24-year-old Zimbabwean, who spent a frustrating three-and-a-half years tied to Bundesliga side TSG Hoffenheim, which included a season’s loan at South African giants Kaizer Chiefs, will officially become a KV Oostende player on January 1 next year.
The Belgian club, though, announced the deal yesterday on their website and official Twitter platform, with Musona also telling his fans, through his Facebook page, that he has moved to a new club, and country, in Europe.
Musona changed the profile picture of his Facebook page at 5.45pm yesterday and it now features the photo that was taken when he was holding the KV Oostende jersey in the company of the club’s chairman Marck Coucke and the striker’s European-based agent Paschalis Tountouris.
Tountouris had triggered expectations that something was in the pipeline when he posted on his Twitter page that there would be some breaking news from his stable.
“In 10 mins a great transfer announcement with photos. Fans of South African and Belgian football will be excited,” Tountouris said.
Then, he posted a picture of the moment Musona held the KV Oostende jersey in the company of the team’s leadership, thanking Hoffenheim scout, Lutz Pfannenstiel, who was part of the coaching staff, headed by Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet lined up to take over the Warriors in 2011.
“Congratulations to @CouckeMarc,@LucDevroe and @1_LPfannestiel from Hoffenheim who made possible that deal to happen,” wrote Tountouris.
Prosport International, the firm that represents Musona, confirmed that the striker will link up with South African midfielder Andile Jali at the Belgian side, which was also the home of another Zimbabwe international, Nyasha Mushekwi, during the 2013-14 season where he was on loan for a season.
“Former Kaizer Chiefs striker Knowledge Musona has completed his move to Andile Jali’s KV Oostende, signing a two-and-a-half year deal with the Belgian outfit,” the agency said on their website.
Mike Makaab, a Prosport International director, said the Zimbabwe striker always wanted to stay in Europe.
“We’re thrilled. First and foremost, we want to thank Kaizer Cheifs and their supporters for their part in his career, and for Hoffenheim for realising his potential,” said Makaab.
“Things didn’t work out in Germany, but it was a great experience for him overall.
“He wanted to stay in Europe and as his representatives we had to make that happen. Oostende is a great opportunity for him to show what he’s capable of.
“I want to thank Marc Coucke and everyone at Oostende for giving him this opportunity. Hopefully, he’ll form a nice partnership with Andile.”
The Belgian club said they were happy that Musona will be available in January and February, given that Zimbabwe did not qualify for the 2015 Nations Cup finals.
“KVO has (had) its first winter transfer bite. The Zimbabwean striker Knowledge Musona signed a contract for two-and-a-half years,” Oostende said on their website.
“In the 2010-2011 season, he was top scorer of the League (in South Africa), even at a top club Kaizer Chiefs. He then played in Germany for Hoffenheim and he was loaned to Augsburg.
“He returned in the 2013-2014 season on loan back to Kaizer Chiefs
“There, he scored eight goals in 19 games. Musona trained again this season with German Bundesliga team Hoffenheim, but he was no longer in action.
“The 24-year-old Musona will be available from 1 January for KVO. He is also international of his country, but Zimbabwe did not qualify for the African Cup in January.”
Koketso Mandlase, a South African football fan, said KV Oostende had just added another fan after signing Musona.
“By virtue of signing Knowledge Musona, you guys have earned yourself a new fan from South Africa (me),” Mandlase said on the team’s Facebook page.
“Take care of him and he will do the same. He is one of the best players we ever had at Kaizer Chiefs.”
Sanele Cele, another Chiefs’ fan, agreed: “He is a world class striker, he played for my team in South Africa.”
The Zimbabwean football fans also joined the social media forums to discuss the Smiling Assassin’s move to Belgium.
“I hope they play him in his preferred No. 10 position, not on the wings,” said Brighton Chiwola on Facebook.
“Also interesting is how Andile Jali has improved in leaps and bounds since joining the same team. At the same age of 24, Benjani joined Grasshoppers which he soon left for a better team and league in France.
“The rest, as they say, is ‘his story’.”
CAPS United fan Lazzie Hacha said this was a good move for Musona.
“Good for him and his career, finally it has been put to rest. He will have a familiar face in Andile Jali at the club, wish him well.”
Another Zimbabwean football fan, Gondai Mazhuwa, said it was better for Musona to remain in Europe than come back to South Africa.
“Better he remains in Europe, not this retirement zone of Super Diski.”
KV Oostende finished ninth in the Belgian top-flight league and have a partnership with Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic.
Their home ground has a capacity of 8 000 fans.