Castle Premiership football side Hardbody midfielder Michael Mageja has joined army side Buffaloes on a five-year deal, NewsDay Sport can reveal.
Mageja, formerly with Shabanie Mine, becomes the fifth player to walk out of the relegation-threatened side during the mid-season transfer window after Aleck Marime, Tapiwanashe Marime, Joseph Matambo and Nicky Kahanda.
Aleck is now with Central Soccer League side Tripple B, while Tapiwanashe has joined Quelaton, who are in the same relegation predicament with Hardbody. Matambo has moved to Midlands State University.
It is Mageja’s departure that is probably going to deal a huge blow to Hardbody’s quest to survive relegation, which ironically starts with a date against Buffaloes at Sakubva this Sunday.
Migo played a crucial role in the team and was one of the team’s shining beacons as the Gweru side struggled to impress in the first half of the season. Hardbody spokesperson Wellington Ngulube confirmed the player exodus, but maintained that the team had able replacements after acquiring Stephen Alimenda, Jacob Muzokomba and defender Pineal Manhope.
“It has always been our policy that whenever a player asks to leave, we will not stand in their way.
Mageja asked for his clearance after getting a better offer at Buffaloes and we could not stand in his way,” said Ngulube.
With the departure of Mageja, Hardbody coach Godfrey Tamirepi is likely to employ Alimenda as a holding midfielder and push Brian Juru into a more attacking role, which used to be played by Migo.
Hardbody’s new signings showed some flashes of brilliance during their 5-3 drubbing at the hands of Shabanie in a friendly at Maglas Stadium on Sunday.
Alimenda still has the touch that made him a star at Highlanders and with a bit of match fitness, he can make an impact.
Muzokomba, who grabbed two of Hardbody’s goals, showed that he still has an eye for goal.