Eddie Chikamhi in Harare and Mukudzei Chingwere in Gweru—
HARARE giants Dynamos have virtually resigned to losing their chief striker Christian Ntouba with the big Cameroonian forward set to leave for South Africa any time soon amid strong indications that he is a prime target of reigning ABSA Premiership champions Bidvest Wits. Ntouba had since the start of the second half of the domestic Premiership season been linked with a move away from Dynamos, but somehow the Harare giants clung on to their man whose goals helped turn them from relegation candidates to championship contenders.
Dynamos eventually finished just two points behind new champions FC Platinum in a season in which they made a remarkable transformation with Ntouba driving their quest. And when the goals dried up for Ntouba after his form took a severe dip, Dynamos’ march towards the championship was also derailed. It appears the Cameroonian had already done enough to attract interest from Super Diski clubs, with Polokwane City, Ajax Cape Town and Kaizer Chiefs very much in the mix.
But as they look set to lose Ntouba, Dynamos have set their sights on luring a host of fringe players who are not likely to make it into the FC Platinum Champions League squad. Ntouba’s manager Gilbert Sengwe yesterday hinted that the big forward might not kick a ball for DeMbare next season after receiving inquiries from a number of South African and European clubs.
The Cameroonian, however, requires a visa to travel to South Africa and is now just awaiting the processing of his papers. Although the curtain came down on the season, Dynamos have continued to train as coach Lloyd Mutasa has been working on finalising his list of requirements to the club’s leadership.
But it is Ntouba for whom much of the attention at Dynamos has been focussed as the striker was still contracted to the Harare giants who would now have to benefit from his sale. His manager Sengwe also indicated that Dynamos were hugely involved in the bid to assist Ntouba with his Super Diski move. Sengwe was, however, evasive on Ntouba’s exact destination in South Africa.
“I will not tell you his exact destination now, but many teams have indicated that they want him. Chances are 90 percent that he will go, but most of the issues are being handled by his club Dynamos. I am his manager, but remember he is a player who has a contract with Dynamos that expires in December 2018. So whatever is going to happen, it has to leave both parties happy. We have also received calls from clubs in Germany and Belgium, but these were just phone calls. We have to weigh all the options, though at the moment it seems like the South Africans are serious,” said Sengwe.
“We submitted the visa papers to the South Africa authorities. We have been informed that it takes up to five weeks for the procedure to be completed, but we have asked for a waiver since this is urgent. So this visa should be out any time and as soon as it is out, he will leave for South Africa.”
Dynamos president Kenny Mubaiwa confirmed the player is on the brink, but the major sticking point could be on the price tag. Club secretary Webster Marechera also said they had engaged ZIFA and the Sports Commission to assist in securing an early visa for the player, suggesting that Dynamos were keen to seal the deal and probably use some of the proceeds from the sale to acquire more players on the domestic front.
This comes as reports from Zvishavane have indicated that speedy winger Marshall Mudehwe who had a brief flirtation with the Warriors under Callisto Pasuwa, is keen to leave FC Platinum for Dynamos. FC Platinum coach Norman Mapeza has always deemed the winger excess baggage and indications are that he could now be freed on a loan deal.
Dynamos are targeting Mudehwe on the same terms they got another winger Cleopas Kapupurika at the start of the year. Mudehwe spent the better part of 2016 and 2017 seasons either being used as a substitute or absent from the match day squads. The championship winning coach Mapeza also used Brian Muzondiwa, Takesure Chinyama and Nqobizitha Masuku sparingly this season and the trio looks highly likely to also be offloaded.
Although she did not necessarily specify who is leaving the club, FC Platinum media liaison officer Chido Chizondo said some players will leave the club to pave way for new arrivals. “Some of the players will decide to leave the club and we will not stand in their way, but when they leave we will have to find replacements. We will turn to the market and our juniors to replace some of the players who will have decided to leave, but for now no one has come out open that he wants to leave,” said Chizondo.
“The coaches will recommend the players they want to retain and the ones they feel can go as well, so we are still working on that. We also have other players who have contracts that are expiring at the end of this year and they might decide not to renew them,” said Chizondo.
Dynamos assistant coach Biggie Zuze chose to be diplomatic in his response when asked about the FC Platinum winger, but acknowledged that the duo of Mudehwe and Hillary Bakacheza, who have been subject of speculation to trade the champions for the league runners-up, would be welcome at Glamour Boys.
“I have not yet heard anything from him, (Mudehwe) but I just heard the rumours that he wants to join Dynamos. I worked with him before and coach Lloyd (Mutasa) has worked with him. I know how good he is and if he comes open that he wants to join us there is no problem. I have also heard of Hillary, but nothing official from him as well you know people at times just say whatever they feel like. So if there is something official then we will take it from there, but at the moment I have just heard of the rumours,” said Zuze.