First it was Kelvin Mushangazhike, then Tinashe Nengomasha and now it is Knowledge Musona.
Just when will South African glamour club Kaizer Chiefs stop holding its Zimbabwe football internationals to ransom?
Mushangazhike — just like the late Cleopas Dlodlo, Luke Petros Jukulile and Rabson Muchichwa — was a loyal servant of the club although he did not seek a move to Europe.
After having mesmerised wing-backs in the gold and black of Amakhosi in the top-flight there, Mushangazhike tried a move to Vietnam’s Quang Nam Da Nang and it flopped.
We were told then the issue was the player had failed to make the grade.
But the real issue was Chiefs were hoping for a killing from the move and when the deal failed, he returned home and played for Black Leopards and AmaZulu.
Nengomasha, known as “The General” by the club’s legion of fans, spent nine years at Chiefs before an opportunity came knocking for a move to Qatar’s Al Ahli Doha.
Chiefs celebrated the move, or was it the hoax?
“Nengomasha has been a loyal servant of the club since arriving here as a teenager. He grew to become one of the key players for the team and captaining the team in some instances. We wish him all the best in his new endeavours,” said Chiefs owner and chairman Kaizer Motaung on the club’s website in July last year.
The transfer figure was not official, but it was rumoured to be around R10 million — a lot of money indeed for a player who probably cost around R100 000 a decade ago.
Nengomasha has probably been the most consistent of all foreign-based footballers in South Africa.
He was voted South Africa’s Premier Soccer League Footballer of the Year in 2004 and was also the Players’ Players of the Year in the same year. It is rare for defensive midfielders to win such awards in football, but so irresistible was Nengomasha in 2004 that the awards kept pouring in.
He also received the Kick-Off Player of the Year award and he was crowned Kaizer Chiefs’ Players’ Player of the Year in 2004.
At the same time, it was announced that teammate Valery Nahayo had also been sold to Doha by Chiefs.
And what a double hoax it was! Nahayo and Nengomasha spent the 2010/2011 season at Chiefs before the Burundian international secured a move to Belgium estimated to have brought in R10 million to Naturena.
A source close to Kick-Off said then: “There was a lot of confusion in the whole deal and what is more disappointing is that the coach of the team in Qatar was not even aware that Nengomasha was coming, even though in South Africa it was already reported that he had signed for Al Ahli Doha. He is back in the country and waiting to hear from Chiefs on his next move.”
And now Musona’s move to German Bundesliga outfit Hoffeinhem has been put on hold because Chiefs are holding out for more than the R16 million offered. How much they actually want, is not known, but they could possibly want more than $20 million.
On Wednesday, Hoffenheim’s sporting director Ernst Tanner claimed the delay over Musona’s proposed move to the Bundesliga was because Chiefs were holding out for a bigger transfer fee.
But Tanner said Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic — who will take Bafana Bafana and Mamelodi Sundowns striker Katlego Mphela on trial next week — have offered more money to prise the 21-year-old to the Scottish Premier League.
“It could end up being down to money,” he told AFP in Germany on Wednesday.
“We are still in discussions and trying to find a possible solution. He is a technically very well-trained player who will improve and was immediately accepted by the team.”
Celtic declared their interest in Musona earlier this month with an offer said to be above R20 million but were told Hoffenheim had first refusal by Chiefs officials.
But Tanner remains hopeful their record of developing African stars like Senegal’s Demba Ba will persuade the player to sign for them.
“The player and his advisors want to cooperate with us and we hope that he will come because he is a very good prospect.
Musona’s consultants have seen that we have a good record of developing African players because they quickly integrate with us.”
At age 21, Musona has overgrown his age with his abilities and a move would be good for him.
It boggles the mind of any football fan why a team would turn down R16 million for such a young prospect.
It cannot be explained any better than as greed on the part of Motaung, his son and so-called football manager Bobby.