PREMIER Soccer league (PSL) new boys Mimosa have taken the league by storm without even kicking a ball by luring top talent and paying up to US$20 000 as they prepare for their debut season in the top-flight.
In addition to hefty pecks, the cash-rich team is offering some players cars and houses as it woos the cream of Zimbabwean football to the shanty mining town of Zvishavane.
Rarely has a newly promoted club attracted the best players in the league while hogging headlines. But Mimosa is splashing the cash, thus giving players the most lucrative deals the top-flight league has seen since its formation.
Impeccable sources and some players already in contact with the club told IndependentSport that the team was paying huge money to attract the best players in order to immediately mount a title challenge that will take them into continental football.
“For new players who are on their wish-list they are offering a minimum signing-on fees of US$10 000 if they are prepared to commit to the club for at least two years,” said one source. “The more established sought-after players such as Maroto (Norman) and Charles Sibanda must have been offered more and the carrot is much bigger because they have been offered cars in addition. The unlucky players are those that will be off-loaded after helping the team into the Premier league; most of them are not happy about it and even those that remain are complaining that they are not getting improved contracts.”
Footballers are lowly paid in Zimbabwe and Mimosa look set to defy the norm with their spending spree. Some teams in the Premiership were paying weekly wages of about US$150 last season.
The platinum miners have since roped in Benjamin Moyo to head the technical department and have already captured Soccer Star of the Year favourite Charles Sibanda and Bheki Ncube from Motor Action.
Exciting Highlanders midfielder Joel Ngodzo is under the Mimosa radar as is Dynamos’ Thabani Kamusoko whose deal is close to completion.
“It’s still premature to talk about any new signings at Mimosa; we are working behind closed doors at the moment, once we are done we will make an announcement, but what we offer the players will only be revealed to them,” said Zhou.
Monomotapa goalkeeper and Warriors trialist Tapiwa Mafunga is also set to join the Mimosa gravy train. The team is willing to splash about US$10 000 on the former Eastern Lions number one.
Gunners striker Maroto, wanted by former champions and league giants Caps United and Dynamos, has already been courted by the debutantes where he has been offered a fortune, at least by local football standards, it has been established.
The player has reportedly left the country, however, in search of yet greener pastures in Mozambique despite the competitive deal he had been offered.
Sources said Mimosa are going for players that are free agents at this stage but have been turned down by Evans Gwekwerere who has dumped Dynamos for Caps United. The striker preferred to stay in Harare for family reasons.
Promotion into the PSL is normally a muted affair for most teams, but it seems Mimosa will not be bullied by the traditional big boys because of their financial clout.
Mimosa chairman Tedson Zhou said that it was premature to talk about any deals, adding that they would soon make an announcement on their new signings.
Motor Action owner Eric Rosen was left frothing after two of his best talents found the platinum lure irresistible.
The arrival of Mimosa certainly sets up what could be tempestuous derbies against their home town neighbours, Shabanie, for bragging rights in the small town.