The queuing up of Zimbabwe’s best football talent for contracts in the South African Absa Premier league, particularly the possible Kaizer Chiefs’ capture of Warriors stars Knowledge Musona and Ovidy Karuru have left local football experts disappointed.
After a trial stint, Karuru is waiting to discover whether South African Absa premier league giants Kaizer Chiefs will offer him a contract, a deal which could depend on whether Musona prolongs his stay at Amakhosi, or the unlikely prospect of him resuming his career in Europe.
Musona could be forced to sign for Chiefs, the only club showing a keen interest in his signature with nothing coming his way from Europe.
His parent club TG Hoffenheim is reluctant to keep him on their books despite a running contract with two more years on it.
Even if he fails to get a contract at Chiefs, Karuru is likely to look elsewhere in South Africa after his contract with Belgium’s OH Leuven ran out.
Karuru, who was a regular at the now relegated OH Leuven last season had the option to renew his contract but is reluctant to play in the country’s second tier league.
He told IndependentSport in an earlier interview that he would not commit to lower league football in Belgium because of the lower monetary rewards. But his move to play in South Africa has let down one of his biggest admirers and former Warriors coach Norman Mapeza, who believes the player still had a bright future in Europe.
“I have my own views about these two players’ moves but at the end of the day it is what they want that counts and people see things differently,” said Mapeza.
“I do not think that when you get a chance to go to Europe and you come from a country like Zimbabwe, where we do not qualify for major continental tournaments, you can afford to come back and play in South Africa hoping to go back to Europe one day.”
Mapeza felt both players should have moved to lower leagues to re-establish themselves and force their way back to the top tier leagues.
“I think both Musona and Karuru should not have come back, they should have stayed there and worked hard. It’s better to play in lower leagues while in Europe and work hard; chances will present themselves and you will find yourself at the top again. I do not know who is advising these players but I think they are being misled because at the ages of 24-25 years old I do not see why such talented players should come back to Africa after breaking into Europe.”
Musona returned to play in South Africa at the beginning of the 2012-13 seasons after turning down offers to play in lower leagues in Germany and also a chance to play in England’s second tier league at Queens Park Rangers.
He was hoping that if he had a good season in South Africa he would entice interest from Germany’s top tier. But after playing well he got injured at the end of his loan spell and subsequently failed to attract interest from Europe.
Chicken Inn coach Joey Antipas whose son Quincy, in Denmark, is one of the few Zimbabwean exports in Europe described Karuru’s move as a drawback.
“If our best players are all going to play in South Africa then we should not be surprised when we get knocked out by a team like Tanzania,” said Antipas.
“If both players are going to play their football in South Africa then it’s a drawback and it only shows that as a country we are not producing quality players anymore. I thought Knowledge could still play in Germany but if he is going to come back as well as Ovidy I think that is a major setback for our football. Our national team would struggle even more.”
Costa Nhamoinesu at Sparta Prague will be flying Zimbabwe’s flag in the Uefa Champions League with Archford Gutu having been flogged to Sweden’s second tier league from Kalmar FF.
Silas Songani at Denmark’s topflight league side Sonderjske is the latest Zimbabwean player to break into the European league, while Kuda Mahachi’s trial stint at Monaco was a flop.