SOCCER Star of the Year and Dynamos attacking midfielder Denver Mukamba left for South Africa yesterday where he is scheduled to undergo medicals at Absa Premiership side Bidvest Wits this week.
REPORT BY WELLINGTON TONI SPORTS EDITOR
Mukamba, also named the Dynamos Player of the Year after winning the league and cup double for the second consecutive year, is expecting better fortunes this time around despite changes in the technical team last Friday.
Wits, who are home to Zimbabwe internationals Thomas Sweswe and Tinashe Nengomasha and former Warriors Charles Yohane, who is Under-16 head coach, fired Antonio Habas Lopez last Friday and replaced him with former Bafana Bafana coach Clive Barker and Andre Arendse.
Barker starts work today.
Mukamba’s manager Gibson Mahachi yesterday said: “The boy has already left, but we have not yet confirmed when the medicals will take place. I will know tomorrow (today) and I should be following him up in the next two days.”
Should the midfielder sign, his first match could be against Black Leopards at the Peter Mokaba Stadium on Wednesday, February 13, when the South African league resumes after the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) break.
Wits are in 9th position with 19 points, 16 off leaders Kaizer Chiefs, with 16 rounds of the league played.
The Dynamos midfielder could be followed by striker Rodreck Mutuma, who has been invited by Bloemfontein Celtic for a trial period on January 14.
Mukamba leaves as Dynamos begin preparations for the 2013 Caf Champions League, as they battle to secure deals for some of the players they had registered for the competition. They want to re-engage secretary Ray Kazembe who quit last week.
In the event they fail, Gunners’ Cuthbert Chitima is earmarked for the post.
The league champions will start their Champions League campaign in the preliminary stage with a match against little-known Lesotho Correctional Services before what appears to be tough first and second round ties.
If they manage to go past the Lesotho test, Kalisto Pasuwa’s men will face the winner between Club Berzetin of Tunisia and Ettihad of Libya.
The task will become even more daunting for Dynamos if they manage to clear the hurdle posed by the two North African giants, as current Caf Champions League Cup holders Al Ahly of Egypt will be next up in the second round.
The preliminary round starts in February, just one week after the completion of the Afcon finals in South Africa.
Dynamos will start the campaign at home on the weekend of February 15-17, with the return leg a fortnight later on the weekend of March 1-3.
If they progress to the first round, Dynamos will play the first leg away in North Africa and then play host in the second leg.
While Monomotapa’s Russel Madamombe and Artwell Mukandi have completed their moves to the league and cup double winners, Hwange’s Francisco Zvikumbawire and Aaron Katebe, Chicken Inn’s Sydney Linyama, Devon Chafa and Martin Vengesayi, are yet to sign.
Chafa and Vengesayi’s contracts have expired and are demanding high signing-on fees, which Dynamos are not willing to pay.
Linyama is another player in doubt after seemingly choosing not to associate himself with the truth by claiming his contract at Chicken Inn had expired when it still had 12 more months to run. Chicken Inn secretary-general Tawengwa Hara said they were not releasing any players.
Club secretary Tavengwa Hara yesterday confirmed the Chicken Inn family meeting will be on today.
“We are not releasing any players for this season, but like any other team during the start of the term, we will be running around to see who we can get,” Hara said.
Negotiations for signatures of Zvikumbawire and Katebe are continuing, although it is unlikely that the Zambian international (Katebe) will be signed.
Burzil Dube, the Hwange secretary, told the Bulawayo Bureau yesterday that they were expecting Katebe at training this week.
History on BidVest Wits formation
THE Soccer Club was formed in 1921 when the Students Representative Council eventually succumbed to pressure that had been coming from students at the Transvaal Technical Institute (the forerunner of the University).
The Club’s three teams participated in the League for the first time in 1922, the same year as the University of the Witwatersrand was formed.