SOUTH Africaâ€™s epic Soweto Derby on Saturday between bitter rivals Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs will not only shape the destiny of the Absa Premiership, but could also determine the future of two Zimbabwean players.
Chiefsâ€™ Tinashe Nengomasha and Piratesâ€™ Gilbert Mushangazhike, whose clubs are second and third on the log behind leaders and defending champions SuperSport United, are likely to decide their future at the clubs when the season ends.
Matsatsantsa, as SuperSport are nicknamed, lead second-placed Pirates by six points and third-placed Chiefs by seven. Anything short of a win for one of the Soweto giants will steer Pretoria side SuperSport towards another title.
For Nengomasha, another unsuccessful attempt at the premiership could see him seek a new challenge while still at the top of his game. Although he has slowed down a little, central midfielder Nengomasha has been a massive player for Chiefs for six seasons: a hardworking, inspirational team player who leads from the front.
He has one year left on his contract, but a clause in it allows him to leave if he wishes.
Nkareng Matshe, senior soccer writer on The Star, a leading South African daily, said while Nengomasha could make a move, it wonâ€™t be prompted entirely by Amakhosiâ€™s failure to win the league. â€œI spoke with his manager and he feels Tinashe should move on,â€ he said. â€œHe feels he has achieved enough with Kaizer and should move on to another challenge.
â€œBut ultimately the decision lies entirely with the player. He is captain now and maybe he would want to see through his contract.â€
Mushangazhike, who has fallen out of favour with the Buccaneersâ€™ Dutch coach Ruud Krol, has made public his desire to leave the club.
â€œHe is not happy that he has not been getting game time,â€ Matshe said.
BY ENOCK MUCHINJO IN JOHANNESBURG