The big rush for gold

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THE Great Trek to South Africa continues.

WELLINGTON TONI

And for Zimbabwean football players, this is the dream place to be, not anywhere in Europe.

Since the Warriors marvellous’ run in the African Nations Championships (Chan) in January in South Africa, local players have been moving to eMzansi in numbers with Highlanders being the most hard hit.

For a number of years, Highlanders was an exporter of players to Europe, notably Bruce Grobbelaar, Madinda, Adam and Peter Ndlovu, Willard Khumalo, Tito Paketh, Rahman Gumbo, Zenzo Moyo, Joel Luphahla, Honour Gombami and Vusa Nyoni.

Grobbelaar, a former Warriors captain, played for English giants Liverpool while Peter was at a number of clubs in England-Coventry City, Sheffield United, Birmingham and Huddersfield.

The late Adam played for Grasshoppers in Switzerland before his return home while Khumalo and Paketh were once in Germany.
Gumbo, a former Warriors midfielder and coach, Luphahla and Moyo (also in Greece) played in Cyprus while the duo of Nyoni and Gombami are in Belgium.

The last player from Zimbabwe to Europe was Harare City’s Silas Songani and this shows we have a serious problem on our hands.

We have heard about Tafadzwa Rusike, Patson Jaure and Devon Chafa going to Europe and we hope something will still happen.

But our players believe their destiny lies in South Africa.

Yes, the money is there:  winners of the league get R10 million, there are quarterly awards, huge television rights awards and monthly grants which means clubs are able to pay their players basic wages of R60 000 per month.

At cash-rich Mamelodi Sundowns, winning the league last season ensured each player took home R380 000, while there is also good money at Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

Senior players like Surprise Moriri and Esrom Nyandoro are getting a couple of hundreds per month.

Clubs like Bidvest Wits, AmaZulu and SuperSport are well sponsored and will never run short of cash to reward their players.

This money is not available to any local player in the Castle Lager Premier Soccer League (PSL). Basic monthly wages range from $250 to $600 while big clubs like FC Platinum concentrate more on winning bonuses than monthly salaries as a way of motivating players.

While the big duo of Dynamos and Highlanders are sponsored by BancABC, the rewards are still little compared to what Danny Phiri may possible get for signing for National First Division side FC Cape Town in South Africa.

Talented former Railstars defender Zimiseleni Moyo looked to the north and landed at Zambian giants Zesco United where he has made a mark.

Ali Sadiki, formerly of Gunners and FC Platinum, landed at one of the richest, individually-owned clubs in Africa, DRC giants TP Mazembe (they have their own stadium and two private jets) on a three-year deal last month.

So when South African clubs come calling, the locals cannot simply resist the lure of the rand in a stronger and stable economy.

And Highlanders have felt the brunt of the moves down south- Milton Ncube has joined Ajax Cape Town, Peter “Rio” Moyo has moved to Mpumalanga Black Aces while Kuda Mahachi has been lured by Patrice Motsepe’s billions to Mamelodi Sundowns.

Goalkeeper Munyaradzi Diya is also wanted by Black Aces while Bloemfontein Celtic is sniffing around former Warriors number one Arial Sibanda.

How Mine, with only two years in the PSL managed to export Simba Sithole to Ajax Cape Town while Hwange has shipped Eric Chipeta to returnees Chippa United. Tendai Ndoro moved to Black Aces in January.

Ndoro has attracted the interest of Orlando Pirates and Sundowns while there are also unconfirmed reports about a trial stint at
Crystal Palace, who play in the English Premier League.

Players, together with their agents, must look to Europe to further their careers and not rush for a quick-buck down south.

This simply means the quality of players available to any national team coach is judged by South African standards and this is reflected in Zimbabwe’s performances in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Local clubs also need to develop synergies with European clubs. For instance, Bantu Rovers is probably the most connected team in the PSL today because of their coach Methembe Ndlovu’s extensive links, developed while he was still playing and coaching in the US.

That is why they have been able to tour the US and have Marvellous Nakamba playing in the French Ligue 2 at AS Nancy.

International agents like Benjani Mwaruwari and Nyasha Mushekwi’s manager Ralph Nkomo are available for local clubs to build those links as well.

6 COMMENTS

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  2. I am a football player for Dynamos and surely i would like to express my gratitude to the ABSA League for accommodating Zim players. Football now a job and when you work you expect to get paid , in zim this is not happening. We , the players are suffering so when a opportunity come we grab it by the horns. We cane even go and play for a team in the second division so long i get to feed myself and my family. Waiting for a opportunity to play in Europe while starving in Zim is a non-starter.

    I encourage all players to Think of survival first then all other later.

    THANK YOU ABSA

  3. iwe reporter grow up.u ar reportin as a profession.nowadays football is a profession nolonger abt passion.we nid food on the table.instead of talkin abt SA tok abt business pple in Zim to support football and get beta deals for these players nt to leave for SA.these players need food on the table at the end of the days.do u thnk its dats easy to play in Europe?dnt jus say zvamunoda wen they ar being paid peanuts in Zim.these players nid to feed their families kwete kukufadza iwe wakagara kumba kwako.

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