TANDO Velaphi, an Australian by birth whose father is Zimbabwean, has joined Melbourne Heart from across town rivals Melbourne Victory in the Australian A-League as he looks to resurrect his faltering football career.
The 26-year-old goalkeeper, who recently said he would want to play for the Zimbabwe national team if given a chance, is among the big names that were signed by his new club.
Other prominent names that have joined the ambitious club include former Liverpool and Australia midfielder Harry Kewell and Dutch international Orlando Engelaar.
Interestingly, Velaphi’s first game will be against his former club in the Melbourne derby when the two teams clash on the opening day of the 2013-14 Hyundai A-League season in two weeks time.
Velaphi, who has represented Australia at the age group level, failed to command a regular jersey at Victory last season.
He signed for Victory in 2011 on a two-year deal from Perth Glory on a free transfer.
Unfortunately for Velaphi, who is born to a Zimbabwean father and a Japanese mother, he suffered an injury in the pre-season, causing him to sit out for the huge part of the season.
He made his official A-League debut for the Victory in Round 26, the penultimate round of the season, against the Wellington Phoenix, a match in which the Victory won 3-0.
Velaphi made his first appearance of the 2012-13 season in the Victory’s Round 3 match against, a match which the Victory won 2-1.
He was then replaced in the starting line-up by Nathan Coe and failed to make another appearance in the season.
He was released by Melbourne Victory in April 2013, shortly after the end of the 2012-13 season.
In his three years at the club, Velaphi made just three out of a possible 56 appearances.
He played for the Young Socceroos in the 2006 Youth Championships and was a member of the Olyroos, the Austrian Olympic squad at the 2008 Summer Olympics, but made no appearances.
He, therefore, thinks his international career lies somewhere and recently revealed that his ambition was to play for the Warriors.